Friday, November 9, 2012

Just Because You Have A Gun Doesn’t Mean You Can Carry It Everywhere

A common misconception is that because you have a CCW permit you can carry your gun anywhere you want.  Every concealed carrier knows that's not true.  But for the uninitiated or the uneducated this can be a real surprise.

As a responsible CCW holder I need to be aware of where it is ok to carry as well as know the law as to where I may carry a gun.

I recommend The Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States.  I carry a current copy in my car at all times. I also use several iPhone apps to make sure of gun laws while traveling: CCW - Concealed Carry 50 Sates Guide, Legal Heat - 50 State Guide to Firearms Law, Gun Concealed Lite.

In VA one regulation that has been streamlined is concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.  You can conceal carry in a restaurant, but cannot consume ANY alcohol.  From the VA State Police:

Where Unlawful to Carry
§18.2-308 (J.3.): No person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of any restaurant or club as defined in § 4.1-100 for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board under Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia; may consume an alcoholic beverage while on the premises. A person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of such a restaurant or club and consumes alcoholic beverages is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, nothing in this subsection shall apply to a federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer.  (http://www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms_ResidentConcealed.shtm)

Another area that surprises the uninformed is the complexity surrounding legal concealed carry on VA college campuses.  The best short explanation is this:

Virginia: State Colleges Do Not Have the Authority to Ban Concealed Carry on Campus According to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli  
In response to a question posed by state Senator Emmett Hanger (R- Mount Solon), Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli recently issued an opinion stating that state universities and colleges - such as the University of Virginia - do not have the legal authority to prohibit permit holders from carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense. With his opinion found here, the Attorney General explains that where permit holders are lawfully allowed to carry may only be prohibited by law, not school policy. AG Cuccinelli did however state that bans on open carrying may still be enforced based on trespassing laws. 
Consistent with his recent opinion stating that self-defense is a valid reason for permit holders to carry in church, this most recent action enforces the fact that state agencies, such as public universities, do not have the authority to establish “policy” in direct violation of state law. Virginia does not expressly prohibit permit holders from carrying concealed for self-defense on university or college campuses. 
While this opinion is good news for permit holders, the university or college still has authority over students and staff and actions could be taken to expel students or fire staff, should they violate the school’s policy. Should the school want to make their policy law, they would then be forced to go through the complete administrative process to have an official regulation added to the Virginia Administrative Code. (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=118x434132)

As of this date there are 6 VA Commonwealth Schools that prohibit by regulation (thus force of law) concealed carry on campuses: Radford University, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, George Mason University, College of William and Mary, and Virginia Commonwealth College.

This information (as well as ALL laws) are the responsibility of the CCW holder to know. Ignorance is no excuse!  I am not a lawyer, never have been, won’t be!  Please consult your own lawyer to make sure your understanding of the law is correct.

Stay safe and God bless,

Padre

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