IMPORTANT: New Virginia gun laws
New Virginia gun laws GOING INTO EFFECT ON JULY 1. There are some items here that you most likely are unaware of, so I highly recommend that you READ THIS ALERT IN ITS ENTIRETY.
Areas affected by the new laws:
RESTAURANTS AND CLUBS THAT SERVE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
Starting July 1, CHP holders can carry concealed in restaurants and
clubs that serve alcoholic beverages for on premise consumption,
however the CHP holder cannot drink alcoholic beverages while carrying
concealed. Police officers, on and off duty, as well as Commonwealth
Attorneys, can carry concealed and drink responsibly.
There is NO requirement to notify anyone that you are carrying
concealed in a restaurant or club and VCDL recommends taking a "don't
ask, don't tell" policy. The restaurant or club has the right to
notify customers that guns are prohibited, or that a particular type
of carry is prohibited (such as "no open carry" or, perhaps, "open
carry only"). Regardless, if there was no obvious signage posted or
you were not told verbally that guns are not allowed, you are NOT
required to ask permission and I suggest that you don't - just go
about your business.
Open carry remains unchanged by the new law and allows for responsible
consumption of alcoholic beverages.
MOTOR VEHICLES AND VESSELS
For those who do not have a CHP, starting July 1 they can have a
loaded handgun with them concealed in their motor vehicle or vessel as
long as the handgun is secured in a container (such as a zipped bag,
closed gun case, closed briefcase, etc.) or in a compartment
(glovebox, console, etc.).
NOTE: Remember that if you don't have a CHP, you generally can't
carry a handgun in such a closed container OUTSIDE of your motor
vehicle or vessel.
The new vehicle carry law, above, has an additional benefit for BOTH
CHP holders and non-CHP holders. Under the law effective July 1, a
loaded handgun can be kept in a secured container or a secured
compartment in a motor vehicle while on K-12 school property.
The new vehicle carry law (18.2-308 B 10) is in the list of general
exemptions from the concealed weapon law. Police officers and
Commonwealth Attorneys, for example, are listed in 18.2-308 B. The key
is that in the third paragraph of the K-12 school weapons law
(18.2-308.1) it says that anyone exempted from the concealed weapon
law is also exempted from the ban on guns on K-12 school property.
Thus, as long as your loaded handgun is in a secured compartment or a
secured container BEFORE you pull onto school property and REMAINS
SECURED in that compartment or container UNTIL AFTER you pull off the
property, you are legal.
In case those of you with CHPs are wondering why you can't carry
outside of your vehicle on K-12 school property, that's because the
CHP wording (18.2-308 D) is NOT in the list of exemptions to the
concealed weapon law (18.2-308 B and 18.2-308 C). Instead, you can
think of your CHP as a "get out of jail free" card. You are not
actually exempted from the concealed carry law, but you have an
affirmative defense against any prosecution.
I think we should be working to exempt CHP holders from the concealed
LOCAL GOVERNMENT MEETINGS IN COURTHOUSES
A few County Board of Supervisors, such as in Sussex, currently hold
their public meetings in a courthouse at night, which thus prohibits
the otherwise lawful carry of self-defense handguns. During the
session a not-to-be-named Delegate told me about a bill that was
totally unrelated to firearms that would help with that problem. Upon
reading the bill I smiled and kept a watch on it from a distance.
The new law, effective July 1, prohibits public bodies from meeting
anywhere that photographing, filming, recording, or otherwise
reproducing any portion of an open meeting is not allowed.
That may make several public bodies move their meetings from
courthouses to a more gun-friendly environment.
Starting July 1 you can renew your CHP through the mail. Just send
your notarized application, a photocopy of your current CHP, and the
fee and your application will be processed and your new CHP mailed to
you. You might want to check with your local Circuit Court Clerk's
office in case they want something else included - Fairfax is
notorious for that. REMEMBER: renew between 90 and 180 days before
expiration of your old permit so that your new permit will become
effective on the day your old one expires. If you renew when there
are less than 90 days left on your old CHP, then the new permit will
become effective whenever it is issued, possibly causing you to lose
weeks that you had previously paid for on your old permit.
If the judge agrees, Circuit Court Clerks will now be able to issue
permits as long as there were no problems with the application or the
background check, etc. This should speed up getting permits from many
localities. Judges will be happy to shift the CHP issuance to the
Circuit Court Clerks. Clerks like the idea as they can serve the
public more efficiently.
VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
(VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization
dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to
Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.
VCDL web page: Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL)