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This is a discussion on Concealed Carry in Virginia within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I recently recieved my CHP (Va resident) and have a couple of questions for the more seasoned members from the commonwealth. I understand the following ...
I recently recieved my CHP (Va resident) and have a couple of questions for the more seasoned members from the commonwealth.
I understand the following from the virginia code:
The permit to carry a concealed handgun shall contain only the following information: name, address, date of birth, gender, height, weight, color of hair, color of eyes, and photograph of the permittee; the signature of the Superintendent of the Virginia Department of State Police or his designee; the date of issuance; and the expiration date. The person to whom the permit is issued shall have such permit on his person at all times when he is carrying a concealed handgun in the Commonwealth and shall display the permit on demand by a law-enforcement officer.
No where can I find a requirement to disclose if I am actually carrying a weapon. Is that correct? Can I legally refuse to answer that question unless I am being detained?
Also, in the code a Law Enforcement officer is defined as:
"Law-enforcement officer" means those individuals defined as a law-enforcement officer in § 9.1-101, law-enforcement agents of the Armed Forces of the United States, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and federal agents who are otherwise authorized to carry weapons by federal law. "Law-enforcement officer" shall also mean any sworn full-time law-enforcement officer employed by a law-enforcement agency of the United States or any state or political subdivision thereof, whose duties are substantially similar to those set forth in § 9.1-101.
By my understanding this does NOT qualify Mall Security Personnel as LEOs.
My interest here is several Malls in my area are posted for no fire arms concealed or open carried. I understand violation of those "rules" can result in my being asked to leave the property, and refusal to do so can get me charged with trespass. My thought is that if I conceal carry, no one should ever know. On the off chance I imprint and someone "suspects" that I have a concealed weapon and I am confronted by mall security am I required to answer their questions or even provide them any ID since they are not LEOs.
If they choose to call the police, do they have the authority to detain someone until the police arrive? Keeping in mind that no crime has been committed and even if I was legally carrying a concealed weapon that is not a crime but could get me asked to leave.
Assuming I were to remain in the area until the police arrived, I would hand over my CHP and Photo ID upon demand (as required) but would I be obligated to disclose if I was actually carrying a weapon?
Thanks for your responses. I am not going to look for trouble or embark on some awareness campaign but I like to look at possibilities and situations that may arise before I actually am faced with them so I can respond with a well thought out and deliberate response.
The way I'm reading it No.....Can I legally refuse to answer that question unless I am being detained?
and shall display the permit on demand by a law-enforcement officer.
In Virginia, you do not have to notify LEO when you interact with them....for instance, during a traffic stop. You are not required to notify them.....Some states like North Carolina, you have to notify them.
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Ask a GOOD VA lawyer , but IMO one way or another if they care enough to ask more than likely they will find out (pat down or whatever they deem need be)
In Virginia, if the officer asks, I believe the code you quoted in the OP requires that you display it. I would suggest that, for any traffic stop in VA., you provide the CHL with your DL; since the officer will request it after he runs your info and you may as well get off on the right first impression.
In Va. Beach in particular, I suggest you fully comply with the officer's requests. No details, I went to High School there.
As for your question pertaining to malls. You do not have to answer or display a permit to mall security, unless it is a LEO off duty LEO and he identifies himself as a LEO. Not sure if they have authority to detain. Best thing to do, is if they won't let you leave, ask if you are being detained. If they say "Yes" then ask LEO on their arrival. If LEO says they do not have the authority to detain you. Then you just hit the lottery jackpot.
Section 18.2-308, of the Code of Virginia, requires you to be in possession of the permit whenever you are carrying a concealed handgun and to display the permit and a government-issued photo-identification upon demand by a law-enforcement officer.
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Be careful when dealing with security officers. Virginia has a category known as Special Conservator of the Peace. In essence they are private security officers who have been sworn in as special police for a specific location. From what I understand they have full power of arrest the same as any local police officer. Generally speaking though if an LEO asks it would be a good idea to let them know. If you don't and they find later it might not go so well. Remember if mall security asks you to leave, do so. If you don't they can charge you with tresspassing. Many years ago I worked as a contracted armed security officer (worked for a security company) and at the time armed security officers had the power to effect an arrest for offenses that occurred in their presence and were considered arresting officers.
§18.2-308 (O.): Private property when prohibited by the owner of the property, or where posted as prohibited.
You don't need a lawyer, it's common sense. If you know the mall is posted when you enter, then it is unlawful to carry there. If you don't know, then all an owner or their representative can do is ask you to leave. If you don't comply, then the police can be called and you could be in trouble. You obtained a CHP because you are a law abiding citizen - you already know the right thing to do.
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As far as the gunbuster sticker, VA law requires effective notice to be guilty of trespassing. Any decent attorney can argue that a "No Gun" sticker is not "effective notice" of trespass. See Code cite and my resoning at bottom. Usually the LEO will want to see the property owner/manager require the subject to leave, and refuse, before an arrest is made. The PM/O is however free to go to the Magistrate and file a Criminal Complaint if he knows your name, address, etc.
Now I'm going to address private security officers in VA, and I know that others will disagree with me, but I did the job for three years and I know the facts. An ARMED Security Officer, working on a contracted property, has arrest powers, and can and will arrest you for violations of the criminal Code. In three years I had over 200 arrests. Petit larceny, unlawful concealment of merchandise, disorderly conduct, possession of a concealed weapon with out a permit, trespassing, assault, resisting arrest, possession of drugs/paraphernalia, drunk on public, brandishing, probably a few more I don't remember.
LIS > Code of Virginia > 9.1-146
http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-119§ 9.1-146. Limitation on powers of registered armed security officers.
Compliance with the provisions of this article shall not itself authorize any person to carry a concealed weapon or exercise any powers of a conservator of the peace. A registered armed security officer of a private security services business while at a location which the business is contracted to protect shall have the power to effect an arrest for an offense occurring (i) in his presence on such premises or (ii) in the presence of a merchant, agent, or employee of the merchant the private security business has contracted to protect, if the merchant, agent, or employee had probable cause to believe that the person arrested had shoplifted or committed willful concealment of goods as contemplated by § 18.2-106. For the purposes of § 19.2-74 (issuance of summons), a registered armed security officer of a private security services business shall be considered an arresting officer.
The way I read this, a gunbuster sign is NOT a trespassing sign. We've all seen the "NO TRESPASSING" signs and a picture of a gun with a slash through it does not mean "No Trespassing" no matter how you look at it. It is a "rule of conduct" for which a property owner/manager can tell you to leave if you are found to be in violation.§ 18.2-119. Trespass after having been forbidden to do so; penalties.
If any person without authority of law goes upon or remains upon the lands, buildings or premises of another, or any portion or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, by the owner, lessee, custodian, or the agent of any such person, or other person lawfully in charge thereof, or after having been forbidden to do so by a sign or signs posted by or at the direction of such persons or the agent of any such person or by the holder of any easement or other right-of-way authorized by the instrument creating such interest to post such signs on such lands, structures, premises or portion or area thereof at a place or places where it or they may be reasonably seen, or if any person, whether he is the owner, tenant or otherwise entitled to the use of such land, building or premises, goes upon, or remains upon such land, building or premises after having been prohibited from doing so by a court of competent jurisdiction by an order issued pursuant to §§ 16.1-253, 16.1-253.1, 16.1-253.4, 16.1-278.2 through 16.1-278.6, 16.1-278.8, 16.1-278.14, 16.1-278.15, 16.1-279.1, 19.2-152.8, 19.2-152.9 or § 19.2-152.10 or an ex parte order issued pursuant to § 20-103, and after having been served with such order, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. This section shall not be construed to affect in any way the provisions of §§ 18.2-132 through 18.2-136.
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Va law doesn't require you to volunteer the information. But, if asked directly by an officer, lying is a good way to make a situation bad.
If I really didn't want to answer, I would ask if I was being detained. If no, walk away. If yes, answer before the pat down.
Having said that, why the issue? I am sure you want people to respect your wishes when they are on your property, why not respect theirs when you are on their property? Shop elsewhere if it is an issue. Just my $.02.
Thanks for all of the very informative and knowledgable responses. Definately kept on topic and have given me a lot to think about.
I would never lie to a police officer and try never to lie to any human being, however I may decline to provide a response to a question if I am not required to answer it. Police will often ask questons the person is not legally required to answer and often get lucky if the the person "voluntarily" answers the question. (lots of great threads here on your 5th amendment rights). The other point I wasn't sure about is if there is no criminal statute can you still refuse to answer questions? (Entered through a non posted entrance, haven't been asked to leave by the property manager or appropriate authority.
So here is a clear cut scenario....
I walk out of the Heaven and Earth shop at Pembroke Mall and am approached by two uniformed mall security guards who say "Sir, we recieved a report that you may be carrying a firearm. Do you have a firearm on you?
My preference is to respond with a question of my own - Sir, I am not sure who would have made such an allegation, but would there be an issue if I were carrying a firearm legally?
Hopefully, I would get told of some mall policy prohibiting firearms in the mall, and if I were in possession of a firearm they would ask me to leave the building. I could truthfully say that I saw no such sign when I entered the mall but am a firm believer in Americans second ammendment rights and choose not to spend my money at places that are anti-2nd ammendment rights and I will return the products I just purchased and leave the mall as I was unaware of that policy and thank them for making me aware of it.
The fine point here is that with no proof of a concealed weapon, just a suspicsion, can they force me to leave immediately, require me to submit to a patdown as a condition to remain in the mall etc. I am not looking to make a second amendment video to put on U-tube but I also don't want to surrender any more of my rights and freedoms because someone else feels better if I do. Thanks again for all the insightful answers.