Those of us who live in Virginia have the privilege of living in one of the most free states in the union, possibly one of the most free places on earth. One of the benefits of this freedom is easy access to firearms and the freedom to carry firearms.
Virginia allows open carry. Basically, this means that if you can legally own a gun, you can legally carry it just about anywhere, holstered. It simply has to be visible.
Virginia also issues a concealed carry permit. While I personally think the US constitution gives its citizens the right to conceal carry without a permit, Virginia's concealed carry permit is reasonable and easily obtained. Virginia law states that they have to issue you the permit, unless they have reason not to.
Many people put off getting their CCP because they find the process too confusing. Recent changes in Virginia law has eliminated a lot of roadblocks to obtaining your permit. It is quite easy!
Here is a list of the requirements:
- A completed, notarized application
- Proof that you have taken a gun safety class
- A copy of your ID
- $50 at most (It cost me $15)
- Proof of residency
The Application can be downloaded here.
It is basically the same stuff they ask when you buy a gun. It takes maybe ten minutes to fill out. before you sign it, have it notarized. Notaries are everywhere. You can find one with this tool.
You probably already have proof that you have taken a gun safety class. A hunter safety course works. I used the hunter safety card that I got when I was 10 years old in Tennessee. If not, there are online safety classes that qualify. It usually costs about $30 and only takes a couple of hours. You can technically get your permit without ever touching a gun.
Lets be honest here: If you are new to guns, you need to go to an actual safety class and have someone teach you how to safely shoot. Online classes are only good for experienced shooters who just need proof that they are experienced.
Make a copy of your drivers license and attach it to your permit. Just about any government issued ID will work.
Call your county circuit court and ask how much the payment will be. Virginia law limits this to $50. I was charged $15. This varies from county to county. Also, ask what form of payment they want. Some want cash, others accept personal checks, still others require a money order.
Virginia law does not require you to provide proof of residency. In fact, it is probably a violation of the law to do so. However, your county will require it anyway. You could fight it, but I recommend just sending it along with your other papers. The requirement makes sense from a governmental standpoint. Vehicle registration, electric bill, water bill.... anything like that will work.
Pack it all up and send it to the circuit court for the county you live in. If there are any problems, they will call you. My circuit court was very helpful, but I'm sure this will just depend on the person you talk to!
They have 45 days to issue your permit. If they do not, you will be issued a de facto permit. This just allows you to carry while the government catches up on its paperwork.
Before you carry, be sure your read all of the law. Most importantly, where you are NOT allowed to carry! Also, don't bother applying if you do not qualify for a permit. It will only get you in trouble.
There you have it! It took me about an hour of work and $15 (I have a friend who is a notary). There is really no reason not to carry. Unless you don't care to protect yourself, your loved ones, or your community......