Virginia State Laws
The laws governing the legal use, storage and carrying of firearms are constantly changing. Below are the applicable laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia as of May 17, 2010. The below information is designed to be a guide and not the final word. If you have specific questions, please refer to the Virginia State Police Web Site. Another great resource is the VCDL (Virginia Citizens Defense League), a non-partisan group dedicated to preserving the gun rights of Virginians. They can be located at www.vcdl.org.
Application for a Concealed Handgun Permit
Any person 21 years of age or older may apply in writing to the clerk of the circuit court of the county or city in which he or she resides, or if he is a member of the United States armed forces, the county or city in which he is domiciled, for a five-year permit to carry a concealed handgun. There is no requirement as to the length of time an applicant for a Concealed Handgun Permit must have been a resident or domiciliary of the county or city where he or she resides.
It is suggested that the applicant check with the Circuit Court where they reside for any local procedures. Questions specific to completion of the application, residency, or acceptable proof of handgun competency should be directed to the court. The application may be obtained from the circuit court, sheriff's office, or police department. The form (SP-248 Application for Concealed Handgun Permit) also may be downloaded and/or printed from this web site. This form can be viewed, downloaded and/or printed by visiting the Virginia State Police Forms page. The court shall require proof that the applicant has demonstrated competence with a handgun and the applicant may demonstrate such competence by one of the following, but no applicant shall be required to submit to any additional demonstration of competence:
- Completing any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state;
- Completing any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course;
- Completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Criminal Justice Services;
- Completing any law-enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement;
- Presenting evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or current military service or proof of an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services;
- Obtaining or previously having held a license to carry a firearm in this Commonwealth or a locality thereof, unless such license has been revoked for cause;
- Completing any firearms training or safety course or class, including an electronic, video, or on-line course, conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor;
- Completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualifying to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties; or
- Completing any other firearms training which the court deems adequate.
A photocopy of a certificate of completion of any of the courses or classes; an affidavit from the instructor, school, club, organization, or group that conducted or taught such course or class attesting to the completion of the course or class by the applicant; or a copy of any document which shows completion of the course or class or evidences participation in firearms competition shall constitute evidence of qualification under this subsection.
No applicant shall be required to submit to any additional demonstration of competence, nor shall any proof of demonstrated competence expire.
The court shall charge a fee of $10.00 for the processing of an application or issuing of a permit. Local law enforcement agencies may charge a fee not to exceed $35.00 to cover the cost of conducting an investigation pursuant to this Code section. The State Police may charge a fee not to exceed $5.00 to cover the cost associated with processing the application. The total amount of the charges may not exceed $50.00, and payment may be made by any method accepted by the court.
No fee shall be charged for the issuance of a permit to a person who has retired from service as a magistrate in the Commonwealth, as a special agent with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or as a law-enforcement officer with the Department of State Police, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, or a sheriff or police department, bureau or force of any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, as a law-enforcement officer with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Secret Service Agency, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs Service, Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Marshals Service or Naval Criminal Investigative Service, after completing 15 years of service or after reaching age 55; as a law-enforcement officer with any police or sheriff's department within the United States, the District of Columbia or any of the territories of the United States, after completing 15 years of service; or as a credentialed intelligence agent of the armed forces of the United States or of a civilian agency of the United States government, after completing 15 years of service; or as a law-enforcement officer with any combination of the agencies listed in clauses (ii) through (iv), after completing 15 years of service.
The court shall issue the permit within 45 days of receipt of the completed application unless it appears that the applicant is disqualified.
The person issued a permit or in possession of a de facto permit must have the permit on his person at all times during which he is carrying a concealed handgun and must display the permit and a photo-identification issued by a government agency of the Commonwealth or by the United States Department of Defense or United States State Department upon demand by a law enforcement officer.
If your Application Is Not Complete Within 45 Days
If the court has not issued the permit or determined that the applicant is disqualified within 45 days of the date of receipt noted on the application, the clerk shall certify on the application that the 45-day period has expired, and send a copy of the certified application to the applicant. The certified application shall serve as a de facto permit, which shall expire 90 days after issuance, and shall be recognized as a valid concealed handgun permit when presented with a valid government-issued photo identification until the court issues a five-year permit or finds the applicant to be disqualified. If the applicant is found to be disqualified after the de facto permit is issued, the applicant shall surrender the de facto permit to the court and the disqualification shall be deemed a denial of the permit and a revocation of the de facto permit. If the applicant is later found by the court to be disqualified after a five-year permit has been issued, the permit shall be revoked.
Persons who previously have held a Virginia resident permit shall be issued, upon application, a new permit unless there is good cause shown for refusing to reissue a permit. The same fees and time constraints apply in the instance of renewal.
If the new five-year permit is issued while an existing permit remains valid, the new five-year permit shall become effective upon the expiration date of the existing permit, provided that the application is received by the court at least 90 days but no more than 180 days prior to the expiration of the existing permit.
Fingerprint impressions are not required for the renewal of an existing permit pursuant to 15.2-915.3.
If a permit holder is a member of the Virginia National Guard, Armed Forces of the United States, or the Armed Forces reserves of the United States, and his five-year permit expires during an active-duty military deployment outside of the permittee's county or city of residence, such permit shall remain valid for 90 days after the end date of the deployment. In order to establish proof of continued validity of the permit, such a permittee shall carry with him and display, upon request of a law-enforcement officer, a copy of the permittee's deployment orders or other documentation from the permittee's commanding officer that order the permittee to travel outside of his county or city of residence and that indicate the start and end date of such deployment.
If your Application Is Denied
Any order denying issuance of the permit shall state the basis for the denial of the permit and the applicant's right to and the requirements for perfecting an appeal of such order.
Any person denied a permit to carry a concealed handgun may present a petition for review to the Court of Appeals. The petition for review shall be filed within 60-days of the expiration of the time for requesting an ore tenus hearing pursuant to subsection I, or if an ore tenus hearing is requested, within sixty days of the entry of the final order of the circuit court following the hearing. The petition shall be accompanied by a copy of the original papers filed in the circuit court, including a copy of the order of the circuit court denying the permit. Subject to the provisions of 17.1-410 B, the decision of the Court of Appeals or judge shall be final. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the decision to deny the permit is reversed upon appeal, taxable costs incurred by the person shall be paid by the Commonwealth.
A Permit is not Necessary in the Following Circumstances
- Any person while in his own place of abode or the curtilage thereof.
- Any person while in his own place of business;
- Any law-enforcement officer, wherever such law-enforcement officer may travel in the Commonwealth;
- Any regularly enrolled member of a target shooting organization who is at, or going to or from, an established shooting range, provided that the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported;
- Any regularly enrolled member of a weapons collecting organization who is at, or going to or from, a bona fide weapons exhibition, provided that the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported;
- Any person carrying such weapons between his place of abode and a place of purchase or repair, provided the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported;
- Any person actually engaged in lawful hunting, as authorized by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, under inclement weather conditions necessitating temporary protection of his firearm from those conditions. Possession of a handgun while engaged in lawful hunting shall not be construed as hunting with a handgun if the person hunting is carrying a valid concealed handgun permit;
- Any State Police officer retired from the Department of State Police, any local law-enforcement officer retired from a police department or sheriff's office within the Commonwealth and any special agent retired from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, any game warden retired from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and any Virginia Marine Police officer retired from the Law Enforcement Division of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (i) with a service-related disability or (ii) following at least 15 years of service with any such law-enforcement agency, board or any combination thereof or(iii) who has reached 55 years of age, other than an officer or agent terminated by cause, with any such law-enforcement agency, board or any combination thereof, other than a person terminated for cause, provided such officer carries with him written proof of consultation with and favorable review of the need to carry a concealed handgun issued by the chief law-enforcement officer of the last such agency from which the officer retired or, in the case of special agents, issued by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. A copy of the proof of consultation and favorable review shall be forwarded by the chief or the Board to the Department of State Police for entry into the Virginia Criminal Information Network. The chief law-enforcement officer shall not without cause withhold such written proof if the retired law-enforcement officer otherwise meets the requirements of this section.
- For purposes of applying the reciprocity provisions of subsection P, any person granted the privilege to carry a concealed handgun pursuant to this subdivision, while carrying the proof of consultation and favorable review required, shall be deemed to have been issued a concealed handgun permit.
Persons Not Qualified to Obtain a Permit
- An individual who is ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to 18.2-308.1:1, 18.2-308.1:2 or 18.2-308.1:3 or the substantially similar law of any other state or of the United States.
- An individual who was ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to 18.2-308.1:1 and who was discharged from the custody of the Commissioner pursuant to 19.2-182.7 less than five years before the date of his application for a concealed handgun permit.
- An individual who was ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to 18.2-308.1:2 and whose competency or capacity was restored pursuant to former 37.1-134.1 or 37.1-134.16 less than five years before the date of his application for a concealed handgun permit.
- An individual who was ineligible to possess a firearm under18.2-308.1:3 and who was released from commitment less than five years before the date of this application for a concealed handgun permit.
- An individual who is subject to a restraining order, or to a protective order and prohibited by 18.2-308.1:4 from purchasing or transporting a firearm.
- An individual who is prohibited by 18.2-308.2 from possessing or transporting a firearm, except that a permit may be obtained in accordance with subsection C of that section.
- An individual who has been convicted of two or more misdemeanors within the five-year period immediately preceding the application, if one of the misdemeanors was a Class 1 misdemeanor, but the judge shall have the discretion to deny a permit for two or more misdemeanors that are not Class 1. Traffic infractions or reckless driving shall not be considered for purposes of this disqualification.
- An individual who is addicted to, or is an unlawful user or distributor of, marijuana or any controlled substance.
- An individual who has been convicted of a violation of 18.2-266 or a substantially similar local ordinance or of public drunkenness within the three-year period immediately preceding the application, or who is a habitual drunkard as determined pursuant to 4.1-333.
- An alien other than an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States.
- An individual who has been discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions.
- An individual who is a fugitive from justice.
- An individual who the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, based on specific acts by the applicant, is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others. The sheriff, chief of police, or attorney for the Commonwealth may submit to the court a sworn written statement indicating that, in the opinion of such sheriff, chief of police, or attorney for the Commonwealth, based upon a disqualifying conviction or upon the specific acts set forth in the statement, the applicant is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others. The statement of the sheriff, chief of police, or the attorney for the Commonwealth shall be based upon personal knowledge of such individual or of a deputy sheriff, police officer, or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth of the specific acts, or upon a written statement made under oath before a notary public of a competent person having personal knowledge of the specific acts.
- An individual who has been convicted of any assault, assault and battery, sexual battery, discharging of a firearm in violation of 18.2-280 or 18.2-286.1 or brandishing of a firearm in violation of 18.2-282 within the three-year period immediately preceding the application.
- An individual who has been convicted of stalking.
- An individual whose previous convictions or adjudications of delinquency were based on an offense which would have been at the time of conviction a felony if committed by an adult under the laws of any state, the District of Columbia, the United States or its territories. For purposes of this disqualifier, only convictions occurring within sixteen years following the later of the date of (i) the conviction or adjudication or (ii) release from any incarceration imposed upon such conviction or adjudication shall be deemed to be "previous convictions."
- An individual who has a felony charge pending or a charge pending for an offense listed in 14 or 15.
- An individual who has received mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment in a residential setting within five years prior to the date of his application for a concealed handgun permit.
- An individual not otherwise ineligible pursuant to this section, who, within the three-year period immediately preceding the application for the permit, was found guilty of any criminal offense set forth in Article 1 (18.2-247 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of this title or of a criminal offense of illegal possession or distribution of marijuana or any controlled substance, under the laws of any state, the District of Columbia, or the United States or its territories.
- An individual, not otherwise ineligible pursuant to this section, with respect to whom, within the three-year period immediately preceding the application, upon a charge of any criminal offense set forth in Article 1 (18.2-247 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of this title or upon a charge of illegal possession or distribution of marijuana or any controlled substance under the laws of any state, the District of Columbia, or the United States or its territories, the trial court found that the facts of the case were sufficient for a finding of guilt and disposed of the case pursuant to 18.2-251 or the substantially similar law of any other state, the District of Columbia, or the United States or its territories.
Change of Address
The clerk of a circuit court that issued a valid concealed handgun permit shall, upon presentation of the valid permit and proof of a new address of residence by the permit holder, issue a replacement permit specifying the permit holder's new address. The total amount assessed for processing a replacement permit due to a change of address shall not exceed $10, with such fees to be paid in one sum to the person who accepts the information for the replacement permit.
Revocation, Suspension, or Surrender of Permit
- Any person who has a felony charge pending or a charge pending for an offense that would be a disqualification for a permit who holds a concealed handgun permit may have such permit suspended by the court before which the charge is pending.
- Any person convicted of an offense that would disqualify that person from obtaining a permit or who makes a false statement in an application shall forfeit his permit to the court, or shall be subject to suspension or revocation of the permit.
- Any person with a concealed handgun permit shall be prohibited from carrying any concealed firearm, and shall surrender his or her permit to the court entering the order for the duration of any protective order pursuant to 18.2-308.1:4.
- Any person granted a concealed handgun permit who is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while carrying such weapon in a public place shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Where Unlawful to Carry
- 18.2-308 (J.3.): No person shall carry a concealed handgun onto the premises of any restaurant or club as defined in 4.1-100 for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board under Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia, nothing herein shall prohibit any sworn law-enforcement officer from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises of such restaurant or club or any owner or event sponsor or his employees from carrying a concealed handgun while on duty at such restaurant or club if such person has a concealed handgun permit.
- 18.2-308 (O.): Private property when prohibited by the owner of the property, or where posted as prohibited.
- 18.2-283: To a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place, without good and sufficient reason.
- 18.2-283.1: Courthouse.
- 18.2-308.1: School property. Exemptions to this statute include a person who has a valid concealed handgun permit and possesses a concealed handgun while in a motor vehicle in a parking lot, traffic circle, or other means of vehicular ingress or egress to the school.
- 18.2-287.01: Carrying weapon in air carrier airport terminal.
What people ask about our concealed carry course
Which states recognize this course?
The Carry Academy course meets the requirements for many different states, most of which through the reciprocity of a VA nonresident concealed handgun permit. See the state list.
How does The Carry Academy fulfill the necessary training requirements in so many different states?
The majority of these states allow you to carry a concealed weapon by obtaining an Virginia Nonesident Concealed Handgun Permit. If you live in Iowa, Oregon or Virginia; you can apply for a Residents Permit as this course fulfills their necessary training requirements.
What is the process for obtaining my Virginia resident and nonresident concealed handgun permit?
Virginia Resident Concealed Handgun Permits are issued by the circuit court of the county or city in which the applicant resides. You can obtain your application form by visiting the Resident Concealed Handgun Permits page on the Virginia State Police website. Non-residents will need to visit the Nonresident Concealed Handgun Permits page on the Virginia State Police website.
Am I guaranteed CCW permit approval if I live in one of your approved states?
Unfortunately, we are not able to make such a claim. Even though many states honor the reciprocity laws of Virginia, we have found that some jurisdictions do not abide by these laws. We recommend, for all those interested, to first contact your local municipality or sheriff's department and explain that you will be taking an online course and applying for a VA nonresidents concealed handgun permit and ask if they will accept, prior to taking our online course.
How do I receive my certificate?
Your certificate will appear on your screen, in your My Account area, upon passing the test. You may print or save it for later printing. An additional copy will also be emailed to you for your convenience. If you do not receive an email, be sure to check your Junk Mail folder. If marked as spam, mark it as "Not Spam" to help ensure safe delivery of any future emails from The Carry Academy.
What is reciprocity?
Many jurisdictions have established arrangements where they recognize or honor permits or licenses issued by other jurisdictions with comparable standards, for instance in regard to marriage or driver's licenses. This is known as Reciprocity and is based on U.S. Constitution "full faith and credit" provision. Due to the nature of gun politics, reciprocity in regard to weapons carry permits or licenses has been controversial.
What is a concealed carry permit?
A concealed carry permit is the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one's person or in close proximity.
Where do I find resident application links for my state?
Please refer to the State Laws page.
What is the test like? Am I likely to pass?
The test is 20 questions that are multiple choice and true/false. You must answer 15 questions, correctly, to pass. Although 99% of our students pass the first time, if you for some reason do not pass, you may go back and review the material and take it again at no additional charge.
Do I not need to shoot a gun to qualify for a concealed carry permit?
No. Virginia, Iowa and Oregon law do not mandate live fire for meeting the training requirements for a concealed carry permit.
Do I need to watch the video all at once?
No, although we recommend watching the video in one sitting, it can be paused and resumed at a later time. Please note; however, the session may expire after a certain amount of time. If that happens, you will need to restart the video when you log back in. We recommend watching the video in one sitting.
Are there places where you cannot conceal carry?
While generally a concealed carry permit allows the permit holder to carry a concealed weapon in public, a state may restrict carry of a firearm including a permitted concealed weapon while in or on certain properties, facilities or types of businesses that are otherwise open to the public. These areas vary by state (except for the first item below; Federal offices are subject to superseding Federal law) and can include State and Federal goverment facilities, political events, educational institutions, hospitals, churches and others.
I am having issues with the video loading or it keeps stopping, what should I do?
There are numerous factors that could cause the video to load or play improperly. Make sure that you are using a modern web browser. If problems persist, trying using a different web browser or device.
What training requirements are needed in order to obtain a CCW?
Some states require concealed carry applicants to certify their proficiency with a firearm through some type of training or instruction. Certain training courses developed by the National Rifle Association that combine classroom and live-fire instruction typically meet most state training requirements. Some states recognize prior military or police service as meeting training requirements.
How much is the Firearms Safety Training Course?
Our course is currently available for only $49.99. You can register here.
Where do I find more information about my states laws including reciprocity/traveling information?
Please refer to the State Laws page.
What are the training requirements of Virginia?
Virginia recognizes eight specific training options to prove competency in handgun handling, ranging from DD214 for honorably discharged military veterans, to certification from law enforcement training, to firearms training conducted by a state or NRA certified firearms instructor including electronic, video, or on-line courses. While any one of the eight listed options will be considered adequate proof, individual circuit courts may recognize other training options.
What is the process for obtaining my Virginia, Iowa or Oregon residents permit?
Please refer to the State Laws page.
Is this class accepted for both resident and non-resident permit?
Yes. Please refer to the State Laws page.
Will this class be accepted for the renewal of my permit (for states where this is necessary)?
Is my credit card information safe?
Yes, credit card information is processed and then safely discarded. Our site is also guarded behind a firewall and 128-bit SSL, for your protection.
Is my information confidential?
How long do I have to watch video after signing up?
Once you have signed up for the course, you have 30 days to watch the video. If video is not watched within 30 days, we charge a $9.99 fee to reset the expiration.
What is your policy on refunds?
Refunds will only be issued in the event that you are unable to access the Resources through no fault of your own (i.e., due to an outage or other non-functionality of The Carry Academy websites) for a period forty-eight (48) hours commencing with the time that you register and pay for access to the Resources. No refunds will be issued once you receive a Certificate of Completion.