While many gun owners are responsible and familiar with Virginia’s laws regarding the transportation of firearms, many are not — and although they may not have any nefarious intentions, improperly transporting a firearm in Virginia could land them in serious trouble. In Virginia, the laws surrounding the transportation of firearms are mostly concerned with whether or not the transporter has concealed the weapon. Let’s look at what is legally permitted and what isn’t when it comes to transporting a firearm.
What are the Laws Regarding Transporting a Gun in Virginia?
Virginia is an “open carry” state, so openly carrying a weapon is not illegal in Virginia as long as you acquired the weapon through legal means. Due to Virginia’s status as an open-carry state, you are legally permitted to openly carry a weapon in your vehicle and to transport the weapon within the state.
However, many gun owners choose to conceal their weapons for obvious reasons. They may conceal weapons in glove boxes, center consoles, gun cases, behind seats, and other areas of the vehicle. If you are transporting a weapon that has been concealed and the firearm is loaded, then you must possess a concealed carry permit. You can get into serious trouble if a law enforcement officer pulls you over and discovers that you are carrying a concealed, loaded gun without a concealed carry permit.
If the firearm is unloaded, then it is not necessary to have a permit to transport a concealed weapon. Gun owners who are on their way to hunt, traveling to and from target practice, taking their firearm into a gun shop for repairs, or transporting their firearm for any other reason need to ensure that, if the weapon is concealed, it is kept unloaded when it is in the car. Otherwise, they will need to possess a concealed carry permit.
It is also important to note that city and county governments can make it unlawful for anyone to carry or transport a loaded rifle or shotgun for the purposes of hunting on public roads in their jurisdiction. Consequently, it’s a good idea to check with the local authorities if you plan to transport a loaded rifle or shotgun in their jurisdiction — or unload the weapon before transporting it.
Penalties For Improperly Transporting a Concealed Weapon
If the police pull you over, and it is determined that you are improperly transporting a firearm by concealing a loaded weapon without a permit, then you could face severe penalties, even if you purchased the gun through perfectly legal means.
The specific penalties will vary from case to case and person to person, based on the seriousness of the offense and the person’s background. If you are found to be transporting a loaded concealed weapon without a permit, then you may be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia’s concealed carry laws. If you are a second-time offender, the crime becomes a Class 6 felony, and the penalties become more severe. Third-time offenders are guilty of a Class 5 felony. Transporting a loaded concealed weapon without a permit is a serious offense, and a conviction can have hugely negative consequences.
Contact Invictus Law
Familiarizing yourself with Virginia’s firearms regulations and your legal obligations as a gun owner can help you stay safe and avoid arrest. If you are a gun owner who has questions about your legal rights under Virginia’s concealed carry laws, or if you feel that your Second Amendment rights have been violated, contact the team at Invictus Law today for a free consultation.