Transporting Firearm in and around the Commonwealt [Archive] - Glock Talk


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10-29-2008, 20:05
I have a question for more knowledgeable folks here. I would like to know what is considered the law when transporting firearms in VA. I read the law and am more lost than before. My understanding before reviewing the law is that the gun shall be in the truck secured and unloaded. But then I see hunters having their rifles on the truck rack in the cab with the ammo in the glove box.

Since I am not reviewing my hunting license this year due to hectic work schedule, the only rationals I have for carrying the firearm in vehicle are protection and target practice. According to what I read, I would need to be member of a target shooting association for my second rational to hold water. Well, I don't belong to any shooting club and have no plan to be in one. So what is legal and what isn't.

Someone told me that as long as the gun is in plain view it is considered open carry and can be loaded. Well, can I just keep my firearm on the dash loaded? Attach is the law, which isn't comprehensible for blue collar like me. I asked the several state troopers and even went to the court clerk and no one can really tell me anything or translate this to me in writing so I can have that letter on me when I get pull over for whatever reason and my carrying method won't be of a concern.

Please help. I like to be able to open carry my handgun while on long business travel. I know the open carry while walking around in non gun-free gun zone is legal but since I plan to travel more than walking distance, I would need a car so what would be legal in this aspect.

Thank you.

While it is the general policy of this agency to provide assistance and information to private citizens whenever possible, the Department of State Police does not provide legal advice, opinions, or statute interpretation to private individuals.
Virginia does not require firearm registration nor is it necessary to obtain a permit before carrying a firearm or other such weapon openly about the person except where prohibited by statute. Pursuant to 18.2-308 of the Code of Virginia (, resident concealed handgun permits are issued by the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which the applicant resides, and nonresident concealed handgun permits are issued by the Virginia State Police.
The following information is provided as a general overview of various state statutes relating to firearms and other weapons.
Included herein are several statutes found in the Code of Virginia, which address transporting firearms through Virginia, as well as other related firearm laws, which may be of interest.
15.2-1209.1 ( This section empowers the governing body of any county to adopt ordinances making it unlawful for any person to carry or have in his possession, for the purpose of hunting, while on any part of a public highway within such county a loaded firearm when such person is not authorized to hunt on the private property on both sides of the highway along which he is standing or walking; and to provide a penalty for violation of such ordinance not to exceed a fine of $100. The provisions of this section shall not apply to persons carrying loaded firearms in moving vehicles or for purposes other than hunting, or to persons acting at the time in defense of persons or property.
15.2-915.2 ( This section empowers the governing body of any county or city to, by ordinance, make it unlawful for any person to transport, possess or carry a loaded shotgun or loaded rifle in any vehicle on any public street, road, or highway within such locality. Any violation of such ordinance shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $100. Game wardens, sheriffs and all other law-enforcement officers shall enforce theprovisions of this section. No ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall be enforceable unless the governing body adopting such ordinance so notifies the Director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries by registered mail prior to May 1 of the year in which such ordinance is to take effect. The provisions of this section shall not apply to duly authorized law-enforcement officers or military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, nor to any person who reasonably believes that a loaded rifleor shotgun is necessary for his personal safety in the course of his employment or business.
18.2-308 ( - Prohibits the carrying of any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material; any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack; any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart; or any weapon of like kind by any person hidden from common observance about his person. Any of the enumerated weapons shall be seized and forfeited to the Commonwealth. A weapon shall be deemed to be hidden from common observation when it is observable but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon's true nature.

10-30-2008, 00:01
There is interesting discussion on in the VA section as far as local open carry laws and experiences. The VA Citizen's Defense League (VCDL) has additional info and sometimes has a printed or .pdf card on gun rights.

The other suggestion is that you obtain a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) which allows concealed carry, within certain restrictions (i.e. ABC restaurants, schools, courthouses, etc.

10-30-2008, 02:32
omeone told me that as long as the gun is in plain view it is considered open carry and can be loaded

Correct--keep it in plain view on you seat or when ever it can be seen.

Open carry when you are not in the car, lock it in the trunk or buy a car safe, it does not have to be unloaded unless you are on school property or other restricted areas. Unloaded means that the magazine is empty, not just out of the firearm.

11-03-2008, 19:40
virginia is very fuzzy when it comes to this type of thing. on one hand you can have a loaded gun on the dash board, or in the passenger seat next to you and you would be completely legal (altho i wouldn't recommend doing this)
and on the other hand if you had a loaded gun in a locked glove box you would be breaking the law. my suggestion would be to just get a Concealed handgun permit than you can carry it wherever you want to inside your vehicle.

but to answer your question. unless your gun is on the dash, or on the seat next to you with nothing covering it. than virginia law says it must be in the trunk unloaded in a case

11-04-2008, 07:08
Thank you Byrum. I can't seem to find anyone at the court house to provide me a letter stating what is legal and what's not. I would think having it on the dashboard or on the seat next to me is a recipe for disaster if I am pulled over for a broken tail-light. Putting myself in a mindset of a police officer doing the routine traffic stop and the first thing he sees is a loaded gun within arm reach of a driver. Since he's behind me, he can pull his gun out and pop me if he's too rookie in the area of having to draw his gun on the job. I have many police officers living around here and I know some of them well and none of them have ever drawn their weapon on the job. I hate to be the statistic.

I guess the law is just weird since it would be much safer for everyone beside for me to have a car safe under the passenger with my gun locked inside. I guess I may have to install a dash holster.

I don't want to get a CCW simply because I don't want my info to be in some database making it easier for some jackal to use for massive consfication.

11-04-2008, 18:19
well if you are ever pulled over in a situation like that. just remember Make the officer feel comfortable. if pulled over turn on the cabin light, than place your hands on the steering wheel and dont move them untill the officer comes to your window. and remember no quick movements dont fool with anything in the car and never grab your registration from the glove box before the officer can see and know what your doing.... just put yourself in the officers shoes... just some tips if you are ever caught in this situation.