Concealed Carry: Do I need a permit for that?

Based on news coverage, today’s world presents more threats than ever: violent crime, criminal gangs, illegal drug trade, and economic crimes of desperation. In such a dangerous environment, it makes sense that over 40% of Americans own a firearm, and the number of concealed carry handgun permits has dramatically increased over the last decade, from about 2.7 million in 1999 to 4.6 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2014. However, many people do not know that concealed weapon laws apply to more than just handguns.

Virginia Concealed Carry Permit

Virginia Code Section 18.2-308 prohibits “the carrying of any pistol, revolver, or other weapon . . . hidden from common observance about his person. Any of the enumerated weapons shall be seized and forfeited to the Commonwealth.” Weapons are considered “hidden from common observation” even if the weapon is visible “but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon’s true nature.” Interestingly, there are 13 states that allow some form of permitless concealed carry, sometimes referred to as constitutional carry.

Any person 21 years of age or older may apply for a concealed carry permit in writing to the clerk of the circuit court of the county or city in which he or she resides for a five-year permit to carry a concealed handgun. There is no residency time requirement Concealed Handgun Permit applications. Virginia law also makes certain exceptions to the concealed carry ban, including concealed carry within one’s own home or business, carrying to and from repair, collecting events, and shooting ranges, and lawful hunting.

Virginia’s ban on other concealed weapons.

Although firearms instantly come to mind when the term concealed carry is used, Virginia also bans a variety of other concealed weapons. First, some weapons are per se banned, including “blackjack[s], brass or metal knucks, … throwing star or oriental dart, switchblade knife, [and] ballistic knife.”  Other weapons can be legally possessed, but concealed carry of such items is prohibited. Some unusual examples include machetes, slingshots, and nun chucks. More common examples include a “bowie knife,” or large blade. Also included in the law is a catch-all provision, banning the concealed carrying of weapons “of a like kind” to the weapons listed. Courts have applied this provision to apply punishment to a butterfly knife, and could be used to ban weapons that are not clearly listed in the law.

If you have been charged with a concealed carry violation, unlawful possession of a firearm, or possession of an illegal weapon, contact BC Criminal Law today. The best weapon in a criminal case is a well-prepare attorney ready to fight for your rights. BC Criminal Law is ready and willing to fight for you.