As a law-abiding firearms owner, you should know where you are not allowed to carry firearms. The various places listed below prohibit all firearms, including your handgun, concealed or not.

I don’t want to waste precious space listing the statutes. Just trust me, I’m trying to keep you out of the court room.

Oddly enough, the one place not mentioned in the Virginia statues is the one place you’ll get in the most trouble with a firearm, the US Post Office. The post office is federal property, not state property. That’s why it’s not in the state statutes.

As long as you are not an employee of the postal service, you may have your handgun with you on the postal service property outside the building. Carrying a firearm inside the building is prohibited.

At the state level, firearms are prohibited inside courthouses and law enforcement offices. Ammunition is also prohibited. So, if you carry spare ammunition, be sure you leave that in your vehicle when you disarm prior to going in these buildings.

You may not carry a firearm into an establishment that serves alcohol for consumption on the premises if you intend to consume on the premises. If you have no intention of consuming alcohol while on the premises, it is legal to carry your handgun. It’s one or the other. If you want to have a beer or glass of wine with your meal, your gun must remain in your vehicle.

Firearms are prohibited on private property such as businesses and medical facilities if there’s a sign indicating the prohibition of firearms. It is your responsibility to look for these signs. “I didn’t see the sign” won’t be accepted as an excuse. While we’re on the subject of businesses, most employers prohibit carrying firearms in the work place. If you haven’t been told, ask your boss about carrying a gun to work.

You may carry a handgun, open or concealed, on school property while you are in your vehicle. You may not get out of your vehicle on school property with a firearm. Long guns (rifles and shotguns) must be unloaded.

I’m going to make an exception and publish the statute concerning carrying a handgun in a place of worship. This one’s a bit tricky.

§ 18.2-283. Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship. If any person carry any gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Lawyers say this statute is “vague & ambiguous”, meaning not well-defined and theoretically unenforceable. The problem is in the phrase “…without good and sufficient reason…”. There is no definition of such so who determines what good and sufficient reason is?

I suggest to my students that they ask their minister how he feels about it. If you have his permission, you’re not likely to be charged in the event of a problem. If he’s against it, I would suggest you respect his wishes. I’m a firearms instructor, not a lawyer. If you feel you need clarification on this, contact your attorney.

Carrying firearms into an airport terminal is prohibited. You may carry firearms into the building to be shipped by air, provided they are unloaded and locked in an approved shipping container.

If you have a permit to carry a concealed handgun, you’re held to a higher standard and it is expected of you to know the law and abide by it. If you’re not sure, drop me a line and I’ll do my best to help you.

Shoot safely!



About Jim

Retired from industrial construction and livin' the dream in the mountains of Virginia.
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  1. Chris Sparkman says:

    Great advice Jim, thanks for that.

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