Requirements to qualify for a license
To apply for your Virginia concealed handgun permit you must be at least 21 years old. Resident and non-resident permits are offered and there is no minimum length of residence requirement for the resident permit. You must also complete a training class.
Virginia does not set up a specific curriculum for training. Instead they give a list of approved courses. Basically any hunter education class, or firearms safety class approved by a state agency or taught by a NRA certified instructor will qualify. Virginia even allows online training from NRA certified instructors.
You can also prove adequate experience with firearms through:
- Current military service
- Qualifying to carry a firearm in the course of police duties
- Participating in organized shooting competitions
Here are some things that will disqualify you from obtaining a VA concealed carry license:
- Ineligibility to possess a firearm by any state or federal law
- Being acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity and committed to a mental institution within the last 5 years
- Being adjudicated mentally incompetent
- Having a restraining order or protective order against you
- Being convicted of 2 or more misdemeanors in the last 5 years (Traffic infractions and reckless driving do not count)
- Being addicted to or an unlawful user of a controlled substance
- Having a DWI within the last 3 years
- Having a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces
- Being an illegal alien
- Being a fugitive from justice
- Being convicted of assault, sexual battery, or assault and battery within the last 3 years
- Being convicted of stalking
- Being convicted of possession or distribution of a controlled substance within the last 3 years
Once you have met all the qualifications send your application to the clerk of the circuit court of your county of residence. Your permit will be good for 5 years.
VA Concealed Carry Classes
Search our database by zip code to find an instructor near you. Enter your zip code here.
What will you learn in class?
If you take a hunter education class or a general firearms safety course you will learn how to properly handle a firearm. You will learn how to clean a gun and how to secure your firearm from children. You may not learn about the "use of force" laws in Virginia. For this reason I suggest you find a class that specifically teaches about these laws.
You absolutely need to understand these laws before you carry a concealed weapon. You also need to be trained how to handle the situation after you have used your weapon to protect yourself. A good instructor will tell you what to say to a police officer after such an event. See the featured instructors below to find someone who teaches the law.
How long does it take to get a license?
By law your local circuit court has 45 days after receiving a completed application to issue or deny your permit. If your permit is not issued or denied within this time period the court can give you a temporary permit which lasts for 90 days.
How much does the license cost?
The maximum charge for a permit is $50. Here is a breakdown of the fees:
- $10 for application processing by the circuit court
- Local law enforcement may charge up to $35 for background checks
- State police may charge up to $5 for application processing
Reciprocity with other states
Visit the Virginia State Police website to determine what states have reciprocity agreements with Virginia.
Where can you not carry a concealed weapon?
You are allowed to carry a gun into a restaurant or club which serves alcohol in Virginia as long as you are not consuming. Here is a list of places you are not allowed to carry:
- Private property if prohibited by the owner (This includes all areas where it is posted that weapons are prohibited)
- Public places while intoxicated
- Places of worship during a religious meeting without good cause
- Schools (An exception exists which allows you to carry while in your car in the parking lot, traffic circle, or other means of ingress or egress to the school)
- Air carrier airport terminal
Virginia recognizes online training. Try to find a class that includes a section on "use of force" laws. Here is a short list of classes offered in Virginia.