Ask a Deputy: Open Carry Firearms
A readers asks about Virginia's laws on carrying a weapon in public.
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Q: My best friend, retired military from the Florida Panhandle is coming to visit here in Virginia. He openly carries a side arm in Florida. He’s asking is that lawful in Virginia, not concealed. He has a permit. Can you help please?
A: Thank you for the question John. In general, one may openly carry a sidearm in plain sight in Virginia. The restrictions to openly carrying are divided into two broad categories, locations where you may not carry and persons who are not permitted to possess and/or transport a firearm. Locations where firearms may not be carried include:
- Federal facilities
- Federal agency lands
- National Forests except where hunting is permitted
- General Assembly buildings
- Hog Island Wildlife Management Area
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- George Mason University
- Detention Facilities
- K-12 school grounds
- K-12 school buses
- Property used exclusively for K-12 school sponsored functions
- Air carrier airport terminals
- Places of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held without good and sufficient reason
Additionally in Loudoun County, one may not carry in public areas a loaded firearm that meets one of the following conditions (with exceptions):
- A semi-automatic rifle or pistol with a loaded, inserted magazine capable of holding more than 20 rounds of ammunition
- A semi-automatic rifle or pistol designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer
- A semi-automatic rifle or pistol equipped with a folding stock
- A shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than 7 rounds of ammunition
Persons not permitted to possess and/or transport firearms under §18.2-308 include:
- Persons acquitted by reason of insanity of any felony or Class I or II misdemeanor
- Persons adjudicated incompetent or mentally incapacitated
- Persons involuntarily committed or ordered to outpatient treatment
- Persons subject to a protective order
- Persons convicted of certain drug offenses
- Convicted felons
- While possessing certain controlled substances