Easy to understand Virginia laws?

Easy to understand Virginia laws?

This is a discussion on Easy to understand Virginia laws? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've had my Virginia permit for a number of years, and my twenty-five year old daughter is getting hers at the present time. I attended ...

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Thread: Easy to understand Virginia laws?

  1. #1
    New Member Array wgungho's Avatar
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    Easy to understand Virginia laws?

    I've had my Virginia permit for a number of years, and my twenty-five year old daughter is getting hers at the present time. I attended an NRA safety course with her as required by law. The course was suprisingly thin on pistol safety and had nothing to say about concealed carry. My daughter asked me several questions about concealed carry, some of which I was unable to answer. I've looked around for information concerning pertinent facts about CC in Virginia, and other than specific laws (in legalese) that are found on the Virginiatrooper site, there's very little info. What I'm after is info about everyday carry, situations that would permit lethal force, how to carry, etc. Things pertaining specifically to Virginia would be especially helpful. My daughter is a teacher, so concealed carry is particularly difficult for her.


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Virginia Case Law on Firearms and the Use of Deadly Force
    Virginia Case Law- Use of Deadly Force Part II
    http://handgunlaw.us/states/virginia.pdf
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-308

    All the stuff having to do with when lethal force is applicable is in case law rather than the state code, which is probably why nobody has a good description of it.
    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
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    Member Array lifehertz's Avatar
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    I highly recommend the Virginia Citizen's Defense League (Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL)) for information about Virginia gun laws. Here's there overview page for CHP in VA:

    Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL)

    In your case, it's probably worth noting that carrying on K-12 school property is illegal.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifehertz View Post
    I highly recommend the Virginia Citizen's Defense League (Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL)) for information about Virginia gun laws. Here's there overview page for CHP in VA:

    Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL)

    In your case, it's probably worth noting that carrying on K-12 school property is illegal.
    ...unless you are dropping someone off or picking someone up in the drop-off/pick-up area....weapon must stay concealed...and you must have a CHP.

    +1 for VCDL
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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    All good advice and links above. You'll be surprised when you read some of the case law regarding use of lethal force. Some things I learned:

    1) You must not have had any part of instigation
    2) You must retreat as far as possible
    3) You must communicate your desire for peace
    4) The level of defense must be commensurate to the level of threat (lethal threat <i.e.armed w/ gun-knife-bat-etc., desparity of force> and lethal force for defense)
    5) Stop once the immediate threat has ended, determining if a situation is a continuation of an episode or a new episode.

    These are just a few things I learned with the links above regarding justified use (or threat of use) of lethal force. There are many more aspects too numerous to list. The bottom line is you have to have reason to fear for your life and had no other choice...which makes sense to me.

    It is a huge responsibility. My class didn't cover these sorts of things either and I asked our local DA for links to learn from on my own. After reading them, I felt better prepared and have a better understanding of VA law regarding self defense. You can never be too prepared. I'm glad you are taking the initiative to study these things. This forum is an excellent place to learn and get guidance on resources. The folks here are A1 and this forum is a class act. Good luck.
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  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    1) You must not have had any part of instigation
    2) You must retreat as far as possible
    3) You must communicate your desire for peace
    This, if I understand correctly, is inaccurate.

    How I understand it is:

    -If you had no part in escalating the confrontation, you may stand your ground anywhere you may legally be (justifiable homicide, quoted from the second page I linked: "[A] person assaulted while in the discharge of a lawful act, and reasonably apprehending that his assailant will do him bodily harm, has the right to repel the assault by all the force he deems necessary, and is not compelled to retreat from his assailant, but may, in turn, become the assailant, inflicting bodily wounds until his person is out of danger." Dodson v. Commonwealth, 159 Va. 976, 979, 167 S.E. 260, 260 (1933))

    -If you DID escalate, you must retreat until your back is to the wall and then declare your desire for peace (excusable homicide)


    Also on the second page, here are some of the things that would qualify as serious bodily injury and thus reasonable expectation of them would allow lethal force:

    "(i) disfigurement, (ii) a fracture, (iii) a severe burn or laceration, (iv) mutilation, (v) maiming, or (vi) life threatening internal injuries or conditions, whether or not caused by trauma"


    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.
    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
    ---Carry options: G26/MTAC, PF9/MiniTuck, PPK/Pocket, USP40/OWB---
    ---NOTE: I am not an expert. If I ever start acting like a know-it-all, please call me on it immediately. ---

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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Could have changed since the cases I studied. Always something to learn as the laws and case law change all the time. Thanks for the update.
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
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    Guns are like sex and air...its no big deal until YOU can't get any.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GWRedDragon View Post
    This, if I understand correctly, is inaccurate.

    How I understand it is:

    -If you had no part in escalating the confrontation, you may stand your ground anywhere you may legally be (justifiable homicide, quoted from the second page I linked: "[A] person assaulted while in the discharge of a lawful act, and reasonably apprehending that his assailant will do him bodily harm, has the right to repel the assault by all the force he deems necessary, and is not compelled to retreat from his assailant, but may, in turn, become the assailant, inflicting bodily wounds until his person is out of danger." Dodson v. Commonwealth, 159 Va. 976, 979, 167 S.E. 260, 260 (1933))


    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.
    No lawyer here either, but I believe there is indeed a duty to retreat. You cannot stand your ground. The case laws I believe spell this out pretty clearly. The laws side against committing any homicide - justification is the interpretation of when no other options were available, ie you could not retreat. Do you really want to be the test case on this? Think about it.


    Back to the ops question. I found this book a really good reference, well worth the price. Virginia Gun Owners Guide, Virginia Gun Owner's Guide

  9. #9
    LLT
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    ...unless you are dropping someone off or picking someone up in the drop-off/pick-up area....weapon must stay concealed...and you must have a CHP.

    +1 for VCDL
    To further add, just so there's no confusion, you must remain IN your vehicle... if you exit the vehicle (even if you're next to it and never leave the parking area), with a concealed weapon on your person, it is a felony.

    Quote Originally Posted by GWRedDragon View Post
    This, if I understand correctly, is inaccurate.

    How I understand it is:

    -If you had no part in escalating the confrontation, you may stand your ground anywhere you may legally be (justifiable homicide, quoted from the second page I linked: "[A] person assaulted while in the discharge of a lawful act, and reasonably apprehending that his assailant will do him bodily harm, has the right to repel the assault by all the force he deems necessary, and is not compelled to retreat from his assailant, but may, in turn, become the assailant, inflicting bodily wounds until his person is out of danger." Dodson v. Commonwealth, 159 Va. 976, 979, 167 S.E. 260, 260 (1933))
    All of my instructors and a state trooper (my brother-in-law) confirm pretty much what BugDude said. [A] person assaulted while in the discharge of a lawful act <-- you may not necessarily be "in the discharge of a lawful act" if you are escalating or instigating an act - that's an awfully big roll of the dice in court.

    There's a duty to retreat, you are not able to defend property (this includes animals) and if you shoot someone in the back (the threat has ended and/or they're running away) - there's a good chance you'll be going to prison.

    As an aside... hopefully the Castle Doctrine passes here.

  10. #10
    Member Array monk's Avatar
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    Isn't there a situation in which the bg might get shot in the back while heading for cover to continue the assault against the gg, and the gg knows if he makes it to cover that the gg might not live long after that...... JS ?
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  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLT View Post
    To further add, just so there's no confusion, you must remain IN your vehicle... if you exit the vehicle (even if you're next to it and never leave the parking area), with a concealed weapon on your person, it is a felony.



    All of my instructors and a state trooper (my brother-in-law) confirm pretty much what BugDude said. [A] person assaulted while in the discharge of a lawful act <-- you may not necessarily be "in the discharge of a lawful act" if you are escalating or instigating an act - that's an awfully big roll of the dice in court.

    There's a duty to retreat, you are not able to defend property (this includes animals) and if you shoot someone in the back (the threat has ended and/or they're running away) - there's a good chance you'll be going to prison.

    As an aside... hopefully the Castle Doctrine passes here.
    There is a big difference between a duty to retreat and not being allowed to defend property. Of course you can't defend property, I never said you could. And if you instigate, you must retreat.

    As for 'lawful act', if you are doing something UNlawful and that is why you are attacked, obviously you do not have the right to stand your ground.

    And as for shooting people in the back, obviously you can't do that because the BG does not pose an immediate threat.
    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
    ---Carry options: G26/MTAC, PF9/MiniTuck, PPK/Pocket, USP40/OWB---
    ---NOTE: I am not an expert. If I ever start acting like a know-it-all, please call me on it immediately. ---

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    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    There are some more citations here: http://www.vcdl.org/pdf/Virginia-self-defense-cases.pdf

    Justifiable homicide in self-defense occurs where a person,
    without any fault on his part in provoking or bringing on the
    difficulty, kills another under reasonable apprehension of
    death or great bodily harm to himself. . . .

    Excusable homicide in self-defense occurs where the accused,
    although in some fault in the first instance in provoking or
    bringing on the difficulty, when attacked retreats as far as
    possible, announces his desire for peace, and kills his
    adversary from a reasonably apparent necessity to preserve his
    own life or save himself from great bodily harm.

    Bailey v. Commonwealth, 200 Va. 92, 96, 104 S.E.2d 28, ___ (1958).
    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
    ---Carry options: G26/MTAC, PF9/MiniTuck, PPK/Pocket, USP40/OWB---
    ---NOTE: I am not an expert. If I ever start acting like a know-it-all, please call me on it immediately. ---

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GWRedDragon View Post
    And as for shooting people in the back, obviously you can't do that because the BG does not pose an immediate threat.
    Unless he's turning around to pick-up a weapon.



    Anyway....all of this is situational. The bottom line is--you are in fear for your life and defending yourself or family from imminent harm.
    Magazine <> clip - know the difference

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    You have never lived until you have almost died. For those that have fought for it, life has a special flavor the protected will never know

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    The bottom line is--you are in fear for your life and defending yourself or family from imminent harm.
    Actually it has nothing to do with fear. You must reasonably believe that the attacker poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury, or that the attacker is in the process of committing one of a small number of violent felonies (which by their nature pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury).

    Semantics, I know, but there is a difference.
    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
    ---Carry options: G26/MTAC, PF9/MiniTuck, PPK/Pocket, USP40/OWB---
    ---NOTE: I am not an expert. If I ever start acting like a know-it-all, please call me on it immediately. ---

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    Could have changed since the cases I studied.
    Not necessarily.

    We get reports of instructors teaching all sort of personal opinion.

    BTW -- re: other post & the Castle Doctrine

    1) there is all sorts of statutory laws commonly refereed to by that name across the country. Some, but not all, refer to protection of property. Some, but not all, refer to both criminal & civil immunity.

    OTOH, Virginia is a Common Law Commonwealth, relies heavily on case law, and legislates on the manta that If-It-Ain't-Broke-Don't-Try-To-Fix-It.

    Generally there has not been an issue in Criminal cases.

    Please let us know, if in Virginia, you hear of any Criminal case (not a civil case) being brought against a self-defense action (not protection of property) where the shooter had not instigated or escalated the conflict.

    2) there is a bill pending to deal with the issue of civil liability (because the cost of defending your actions in civil case is a problem).

    Although it passed the house 75-24, it is one of the bunch of bills at risk in the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice where Marsh & Saslaw are playing game, albeit I think we'd have the votes in the full committee and on the floor of the Senate. -- (See http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...heap-shot.html)
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    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

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