Let’s Talk Virginia

I should have mentioned this a while back, but on the First week of April The Mrs, and my Parents will driving down to Colonial Williamsburg for the week.

I’ll need to do a little online research, but I thought since I have a ton of readers who live in Virginia, or regularly find themselves there, I thought I’d ask about carry laws there, since they likely know them better than I could learn from reading.

Overall I’d prefer to carry the whole time I’m down there, but I don’t know what parks and/or areas are off limits to licensed carry.

Also I’ll need to run this by my folks who are neither gunnies, nor bloggers if it would be possible to have a blog get-together one evening, since there are several of you down there whom I have met and think are awesome, and several who I really would love to meet for the first time.

So open discussion, what carry pitfalls exist in Virginia (Like I believe Restaurant carry has been legalized, but it is illegal to drink while armed…no issue there) If say the parks are off-limits it might not be worth the trouble, otherwise better safe than sorry.

Also are there any restaurants near the park and days where it might be convenient to meet up that week?

Thanks in advance!

First up I found this forum thread that seems to point that the Park is not posted, so its Carry-legal.

Also For those who keep pointing out the obvious, that Massachusetts is an anti-gun state that doesn’t recognize any other state’s carry permits, therefore there are precious few states that honor my Mass permit, I’ll be carrying on my Florida Permit. (One reason why I’m such an advocate of HR 822, I have currently 4 carry permits, and I see that as a pointless waste of time and money keeping them all in good standing, especially when that only gives me about 40 states of coverage). So I’ll be carrying concealed, while I’m there…tho like I always point out, accidental exposures can happen to ANYBODY so OC laws are worth a note. Thanks for all who have responded so far!

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0 Responses to Let’s Talk Virginia

  1. Shamandin says:

    I live about 45 minutes west of Colonial Williamsburg (and used to live just around the corner, a couple years back). There are a lot of restaurants on the US 60 corridor (where the outlet malls are) or on Bypass Rd. Both are very close to CW.

    As for the carry laws (in general), it’s pretty straightforward. As you noted, restaurants serving alcohol is now good as long as the carrier doesn’t drink. Otherwise, it’s schools, federal buildings, courthouses and buildings with posted signs. The last one is the one to lookout for, but like other places they are supposed to be prominently posted on entryways.

    I thought that Colonial Williamsburg was a part of the National Park Service, but it appears to be a private foundation that runs it. There are a lot of National Parks (including Colonial Parkway, one of the access routes to Colonial Williamsburg) in the area. As usual, CC is allowed with a valid permit, but OC in the parks is not allowed in Virginia.

    I can’t find anything on the Colonial Williamsburg website (http://www.history.org/) about carrying, but there are contact numbers listed.

  2. In Virginia, you can pretty much carry anywhere except places that are prohibited by federal laws…school K-12, cout house, federal buildings, etc I think OC is actually permitted in parks as of April 1st, 2011. In VA there is no law prohibiting one from drinking alcohol in a restaurant or bar while OC. I am not advocating drinking and carrying a gun, just clarifying that it is not illegal to do so. It is ilegal to drink alcohol and CC. You also are not suppose to carry on private property if the owner posts a sign, but if “caught” it is only a trespassing charge and only if you refuse to leave. I do not have any specific info on Williamsburg, but if they are federal buildings one would not be able to carrying the building, I think National Parks, federal and state parks are good to go.

    I want to meet:)

  3. Just for clarification, anyone over the age of 18 can OC here, but CC does require a permit. I don’t this MA has reciprocity with VA.

  4. Jake says:

    CCW in VA is governed under Va Code §18.2-308.

    I don’t remember, what state CCW permits do you have? It looks like VA does not have reciprocity with MA, but if you have a non-resident permit for one of the listed states (like FL) you should be okay.

    For general restrictions on open carry check Va Code §18.2-287.4 They basically prohibit carrying “high capacity” (in this case, more than 20 round) weapons, and only in certain areas. Williamsburg is not one of those, so you should be (legally) okay to OC. I’m not sure if there’s been any LEO harassment of OC’ers, though.

    Firearms in State Parks are covered by administrative code 4VAC5-30-200. Basically, it’s CCW only in State Parks. Colonial Williamsburg appears to be privately owned and not a State Park, so you should be okay legally.

    Restaurant carry, either CCW or OC, is perfectly legal. If you OC, you can drink legally. If you CCW, you would have to uncover it to have even a single glass of beer or wine.

    Otherwise, it’s the usual: schools, federal buildings, courthouses, etc. Churches are weird (legal with “good and sufficient reason”, but there’s no actual definition of the term). There’s no law against carrying in a bank or other specific business. Businesses that are posted are questionable – there’s no statute on legally binding signage, but you could possibly get dinged for trespassing. There’s also section O of the CCW law, which states:

    O. The granting of a concealed handgun permit shall not thereby authorize the possession of any handgun or other weapon on property or in places where such possession is otherwise prohibited by law or is prohibited by the owner of private property. [emphasis mine]

    That doesn’t make concealment illegal, but how it would be prosecuted and under what statute isn’t clear.

    As always, IANAL, this is not legal advice, if you trust some twit on the internet for legal advice you deserve what you get, etc., etc., ad nauseam, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Awesome, I thought you might come out with a good comment, given what a carry law buff you are!

      Thanks, and as I said above I’ll be carrying concealed on my Florida permit. Since the wife and folks aren’t the CCW activists I am, a potential police harassment case would be a major downer for the vacation, so I’ll be keeping my peice under wraps, and since I’m a cheap bastard I’ll likely only crack a bottle in the hotel room at night, if I decide to drink at all while I’m there.

      • Jake says:

        No problem! And yeah, me learning to do legal research was probably a good thing (except for the Brady Bunch)! 🙂

        Just be aware, as Knitebane pointed out, it’s right next to William & Mary, and they have their victim disarmament policy codified as a state regulation. Fortunately, that only extends to buildings and “campus events”, not outdoor public spaces. I assume it would be prosecuted as trespassing, but I’m not sure.

    • RobSmalls says:

      Here in VA you actually can carry in churches as long as it’s not during a religious service, or if it’s during a religious service you may CC with the permission of the religious leader of the church. The Virginia AG came out with an opinion recently that said that self-defense was a “good and sufficient reason” to carry, but that doesn’t necessarily carry over to the Commonwealths Attorney (DAs) who would prosecute you if they chose to do so. It’s only that such a claim to self defense could be your defense in court if you were prosecuted for church carry.

  5. Knitebane says:

    I went a couple of years ago but I honestly can’t remember if I carried or not but I don’t recall having to disarm. I usually remember those places that don’t want me back.

    Being an NC resident I’m pretty good at spotting signs too. Carrying in Virginia and
    Pennsylvania is a treat compared to carrying here at home. In VA, restaurants that serve booze are OK, just don’t drink. The usual government buildings, schools, etc. are off-limits but that’s about it.

    They do have a gunsmith on-site, making historical firearms. The foyer in the Governor’s mansion is filled with guns, floor to ceiling.

    Several posts at The Firing Line and Defensive Carry indicate that CCW at Colonial Williamsburg is not a problem but be aware that the property abutts William and Mary College and they probably don’t allow carry.

    Best bet is to call them.

    Colonial Williamsburg – 757-229-1000
    Yorktown Battlefield – 757-898-2410

  6. MSgt B says:


    You’re not going to want to go back.

    CC if your permit is recognized by VA, if not, open carry. No one will bat an eye down there on the peninsula.

    “Colonial Williamsburg” is indeed a privately owned park now, and they have “victim zone” signs up. (At least they did last time I went there, about two years ago)

    Illegal to drink while CC’ing, but it is also illegal for an establishment to serve alcohol to someone who is armed. They could lose their liquor license. I think that’s why they never bothered to put anything on the books about drinking and open carry.

    Definitely up for a meet. You’re my hero.

  7. Phssthpok says:

    Some reading for you should you find yourself with the time to do so: http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/search.php?searchid=845104

    And some quick reference ‘maps’ for your travels:

  8. Cargosquid says:

    We HAVE to have a meet!

    I live in Richmond. I can’t add anything to the above on carry. Make sure that you see Yorktown and Jamestown while here. Its too bad that you missed Military Through The Ages that was held this past weekend. All SORTS of weapons and re-enactors. Very nice. Drop me an email. Would love to meet you and buy you beer.

  9. Robert says:

    In addition to Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, set aside a morning or afternoon for the Mariner’s Museum at nearby Newport News. Well worth a visit. You can probably take in both Jamestown and Yorktown in a single day, if you’re pressed for time. I’m not certain of Fort Monroe’s status in Hampton since the Army gave it to the state of Virginia (I think Obama has declared it a National Monument), but if it’s open it’s well worth visiting, also, as the Army took good care of it.

  10. treestump says:

    Its virginia. i walk around northern va with a cz75 open carried, and no one bats an eye. As far as i know, the rules on carrying around alcohol recently changed. You can no longer open carry while in an establishment that serves alcohol, but you can conceal carry, as long as you don’t drink. Also, keep in mind that private property with ‘no firearms’ signs don’t have force of law down here. If you are asked to leave, of course you must, but the worst that can happen is a trespassing citation, which is not grounds for permit revocation. The state is the only body that can regulate places of carry, so as long as you dont pack in churches, schools or courts, you’re pretty much golden. Have fun, keep one in the pipe, and enjoy. You might be coming back sooner than you thought.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      OK so there is no binding signage for private property. That’s the same as it is here. The gun part is irrelevant, if a proprietor asks me to leave someplace I’m always willing to comply.


    • Jake says:

      I don’t believe there’s been any change on OC in restaurants where alcohol is served – it’s still legal. And you can enjoy a beer while carrying openly, too.

  11. Cargosquid says:

    Just had a thought…..

    Since you’re probably coming down I-95…..you will be going past the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico. Its DEFINITELY worth a stop.

  12. Bubblehead Les says:

    Uh, not to be a Party Pooper, but you said you are DRIVING down to VA? Oh dear. Uh, Massachusetts,Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, I know there’s a Federal Law involving transportation while passing through, but didn’t Emily just have something about moving Firearms around in DC? And then there’s Mickey Bloomberg’s New York City (ZOMG!).

    Bro, you better check out what some of those Dictatorships say about CCW in Autos. I think you’re gonna need to have 2 lockboxes in the Trunk (one for Empty Pistols and one for Ammo, and no Loaded Magazines), and a few Hard Copies of all the Laws in the Glovebox, ready to hand over to the Cops with the Registration.

    You see, there’s this Reality called Murphy’s Law, and it says some Drunken New York City Alderman will hit you as you get off the George Washington Bridge, and the NYPD who search your car will arrest you for “Gun Running’…..

    • RobSmalls says:

      Gotta agree with Bubs here. I drive from Northern Virginia to Connecticut for work sometimes, and I usually keep my Glock 19 with me during travel. Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are not friendly to my rights, and I have to keep everything unloaded, lock-boxed and in the trunk during basically the entire trip (God bless Delaware). Can’t carry in CT either, only keep it in my hotel. Getting around Washington DC is fine as long as you stay on the I495 Beltway.

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