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10 Weird Facts about Virginia Concealed Weapons Laws

Virginia has some of the most arcane and bizarre concealed weapons laws. However, Virginia takes the weirdness to a whole new level by creating a list of weapons that will get a chuckle out of some people and send others to a dictionary.

Virginia laws also defy reason by making possessing a concealed gun easier than possessing a concealed slingshot or box cutter. Yes, that is right! While it is illegal to conceal carry certain knives, brass knuckles, blackjacks, box cutters, and slingshots. You can get a concealed carry permit to carry a gun in Virginia. Apparently, slingshots are so dangerous, that there is no condition under which an adult should be allowed to carry a concealed slingshot…unless you are the harbormaster of the City of Hopewell.

So without further spoilers, here is the list of the 10 weirdest facts about Virginia Concealed Carry Laws. (If you have been charged with a weapons crime in Northern Virginia call Nichols & Green PLLC for a free consultation at (703) 215-1114

1) DUI and Concealed Carry = illegal, Drunk and open carry = legal.

If you drink and drive, you will lose your right to have a concealed carry permit [Va Code 18.2-308.09(9)]. But it is still legal to get drunk with a loaded AR-15 across your back.

2) Slingshots are concealed weapons in Virginia.

Va. Code 18.2-308(A)(ii). Slingshots…yes, slingshots are a concealed weapon in the state of Virginia. Bart Simpson, Dennis “The Menace” and even King David better steer clear of the Old Dominion because they will find themselves in jail if they have a slingshot in their pocket. (Oh, by-the-way, it is still legal to sell slingshots to minors in Virginia, just don’t put them in a bag on your way out of the store – open carry only).

3) Virginia is a “Ninja-Free” zone.

Va. Code 18.2-308(A)(iii) and (iv) bands concealed nun-chucks, ninja throwing stars, shuriken, and fighting chains. So tough luck all you ninjas out there, at least you are still allowed to run around with concealed samurai swords.

4) Don’t worry…I am a postman!

Va. Code 18.2-308(D)(1) states that Virginia’s concealed weapons laws do not apply to US mail carriers while in the discharge of their official duties. So no going postal unless you are actually a postman.

5) Concealing a Kitchen knife while robbing a store is OK but box cutters are illegal.

Hiding a 12″  kitchen knife in your pants while trying to rob a store does not break the concealed weapons laws according to Farrakhan v. Com., 2007, 639 S.E.2d 227, 273 Va. 177. However, if you have a box cutter razor in your pocket or car you are violating the law and will be a convicted criminal. O’Banion v. Com., 1999, 519 S.E.2d 817, 30 Va.App. 709.

6) Locking an unloaded gun in a car’s glove box is illegal

In Virginia, if you leave a loaded pistol on your dashboard and drive around you are “open carrying” and that is typically legal in Virginia. If however, you unload your gun and lock it away in a locking glove box or center console of your car like a responsible person would then you are a criminal because you are violating Virginia’s concealed weapon laws. Leith v. Com., 1994, 440 S.E.2d 152, 17 Va.App. 620. U.S. v. Atkins, 2001, 16 Fed.Appx. 145, 2001 WL 863557

7) Virginia laws are tough on your “mid-evil club”

Va. Code 18.2-308(A)(ii) lists weapons that are illegal to conceal in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dirks and Bowie's knives are illegal to conceal in Va. However, if this puts a damper on your mid-evil fight club plans, don’t worry: Scottish claymore swords, Katanas, cutlasses, and a good ‘ole fashion hand-and-a-half are not mentioned under Virginia law.

8) Don’t mess with the Harbor Master of Hopewell….Seriously.

Va. Code 18.2-308(D)(5) says that Virginia’s concealed weapons laws don’t apply to the Harbor Master of Hopewell. So just remember, if you try to mug the Harbor Master of the City of Hopewell Va. you just might get a ninja throwing star in the throat.

9) Allowed to conceal carry in a liquor store but not a bar/restaurant

According to the Attorney General, concealed weapons permit holders can bring a gun into a liquor store but not into any place that sells liquor for consumption on-premises. 1995 Op.Atty.Gen. No. 119, Dec. 5, 1995

10) What is a “Curtilage” and why is concealed carry on my own property illegal?

Possessing a concealed weapon outside on your own property is illegal unless your property is a “curtilage” as defined by 16th century English law. Good to see that our laws are up-to-date and easy for the average citizen to understand. Foley v. Com., 2014, 755 S.E.2d 473, 63 Va.App. 186.