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Virginia Concealed Carry Permit Laws: How to Get One, Maintain it, and Violations 

What is a Concealed Carry Permit in Virginia


A Virginia concealed carry permit allows you to carry a handgun.  According to VA Code § 18.2-307.1, a handgun is defined as a “pistol, revolver, or other firearm, except a machine gun, originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile by means of an explosion of a combustible material from one or more barrels when held in one hand." Having a concealed carry permit will exempt you from the State of Virginia’s ban on concealed weapons outlined in § 18.2-308. According to the statute, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon in public unless you fall under any one of these ten (10) exceptions:


  1. You are at your own place of business;

  2. You are a current or retired member of law enforcement pursuant to § 18.2-308.016 wherever such law-enforcement may travel in the Commonwealth;

  3. You are going to, returning from, or at an established firing range, ensuring that weapons are unloaded and securely held during transportation;

  4. You are a member of a weapons collection organization who is going to or from, a bona fide weapons exhibit, ensuring that the weapons are unloaded and safe to transport;

  5. You are transporting your weapon from your place of living to a weapon’s repair shop or store, ensuring the weapons are unloaded and safe for transport;

  6. You are engaged in lawful hunting as authorized by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries.  It also must not be construed that you intend to use the handgun to hunt;

  7. You are an attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant attorney, wherever such attorney may travel in the Commonwealth;

  8. You are carrying the handgun while in a personal private vehicle secured in a container or glove compartment;

  9. You are going to, returning from, or participating in a firearms training course provided that the weapons are unloaded or securely wrapped during transportation’

  10. You are a judge or justice in Virginia;


Punishment for not Having a Conceal Carry Permit

In accordance with VA Code § 18.2-308, carrying a concealed weapon without a corresponding permit is considered a class 1 misdemeanor, carrying a punishment of up to 1 year in jail and/ or a $2500 fine

A second violation of this act is considered a class 6 felony which is punishable with up one to five years in prison


How Do I Obtain a Permit


To obtain a permit as a Virginia resident, you must be able to prove:

  1. You are a legal resident of the state of Virginia (Out of state residents may still apply for a concealed carry permit, but it will expire after 5 years)

  2. You are 21 years or older

  3. You hold demonstrable competence with handguns by completing firearms training.

While the first two are straightforward, the details of what constitutes “acceptable firearm training” are outlined in § 18.2-308.02  which states several avenues for certification:

  • Completion of any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

  • Completion of any NRA firearms safety or training course

  • Completion of any firearms safety or training course provided by any public or private institution certified by the NRA or Department of Criminal Justice Services;

  • Completion of any police academy or law enforcement training course offered for private or public security

  • Evidence of firearms experience through the participation of organized shooting or military experience;

  • Using previous or current licenses which can be construed as reasonable competence with a firearms, unless those licenses have been declared invalid;

  • Completion of any firearms training, even including online and electronic courses certified by the state of Virginia or the National Rifle Association;

  • Completion of any other firearms training that satisfies the court’s demands

Acceptable forms of certification in any of these avenues are photocopy, a voucher from your instructor, school, club, organization, or group, or a copy of the final certification of completion.

Where do I start as a Virginia Resident

  1. The first step to receiving a concealed carry permit is to submit an application to the clerk’s office at your local Circuit court. You can find that application here.  

  2. A fair warning should be put out that there is a $10 processing fee for applying and another $35 fee for a background check.

  3. Sign the application under oath

  4. Bring the necessary documents to show firearms training certification

  5. When your application is completed, the court will cross check your criminal background with your local police department to ensure you are not disqualified

  6. If all goes well, you will be issued a permit via USPS and your State Police force will be notified within 45 days of the completed application.

What If I am a Nonresident

The application process for nonresidents is relatively similar to that of in-staters, but there are a few more hoops to jump through and the permit is temporary (5 years)

  1. Fill out an application for a concealed carry and send it to your local Circuit court.  Expect the same $45- $50 fee as Virginia residents. 

  2. Submit two photographs according to instruction given by the Department of State Police.

  3. Submit fingerprints on a card provided by the Department of State Police to begin your background check

  4. Sign the aforementioned documents under oath and send them to the Department of State Police.

  5. Provide documents proving competency with a firearm.

I Have my Permit, Now What?

If you are fortunate enough to secure a concealed carry permit, there are some responsibilities which will befall you,

  1. If you are carrying your concealed handgun, you must always keep the permit on your person.

  2. When ordered by a law-enforcement officer, you must display the permit and photo identification issued by the US government.

  3. Failure to comply with these two rules will result in a $25 civil penalty.

Actions Which a Concealed Carry Permit Will Not Protect You From

A CC permit is not a blank check on reckless action and there are real and severe restrictions to concealed carrying,

  1. You may not brandish your firearm;

  2. You are not allowed to carry your gun in public while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;

  3. You may not enter a restaurant/ club with a weapon and drink at the establishment;

  4. You may not enter private property with a gun where the owner has explicitly banned the possession of such a weapon on his property;

  5. You may not bring a gun into a courthouse;

  6. You may not bring a gun into school property unless it is secured in a motor vehicle;

  7. You may not bring a gun into an airport;

What If I Have a Concealed Carry Permit from Another State?

So long as you have a photo ID from the corresponding state of the CC permit, you are in luck! Due to reciprocity, Virginia recognizes permits from most other states. 

How We Can Help

The Pickett Law Group has a group of experienced concealed carry permit lawyers who can help you in the process of obtaining a concealed carry permit or defend you for a conceal carry permit violation. Contact us today and we will begin going to work on your behalf. 

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