How to Get a Gun License in Virginia
The State of Virginia follows a "shall issue" jurisdiction with regards to firearm licensing laws. This means that applicants for firearm licenses in the State of Virginia must pass specific stringent background checks before they are granted the firearms license.
Gun laws in Virginia
Virginia allows residents to conceal & carry guns without a permit. However, open carry of firearms (in particular shotguns and assault firearms), although legal without a permit in certain places of Virginia, is illegal in Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Richmond, Loudoun, Fairfax, Henrico, Arlington, and Prince William.
All firearms listed under the National Firearms Act must be registered with the State police, and certain types of firearms like plastic guns and other destructive devices are to be in possession of law enforcement officials alone.
According to the Constitution of Virginia, all residents are allowed to own and possess firearms, without interference from the State. Any county laws interfering with this State-provided freedom is made moot, by the regulations of the Virginian Constitution.
Firearms owners are not allowed to carry their guns to/in churches, K-12 schools, courthouses, foreign embassies, airports, Capitol and General Assembly buildings, jails & detention centers and select University campuses.
Holders of gun licenses from other states are allowed to carry their firearms in Virginia, provided:
- The holder provides valid ID proof, proof of military service (if relevant) and the firearm license upon request.
- The license issuer provides Virginian authorities with valid proof of license and holder’s ID proof within 24 hours.
- The holder does not have a revoked Virginia firearm license to his/her name.
How to apply for a firearms license in Virginia?
- Understand your eligibility for a license
Firearms licenses are not necessary for residents of the State of Virginia who are above the age of 21 and reside and work out of Virginia.
Concealed handgun license is required by residents only when they have taken up residence outside Virginia for work or have been stationed outside Virginia by the US armed forces.
All non-residents staying in Virginia and wanting to possess firearms must apply for a firearms license. They must:
- Be above the age of 21.
- Submit a photo ID proof and a proof of American citizenship.
- Not have been convicted of misdemeanor, crime or perjury in Virginia or any other state where he/she holds a firearms license.
- Not be a regular user of alcohol, narcotics and other illegal substances and must be able to behave responsibly when under the influence.
- Not be receiving or ever have received mental health counseling/treatment and substance abuse counseling/treatment.
- Show competence when handling a firearm.
Non-residents can show competence by providing one or all of the following:
- Safety training certificate by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar institution in America.
- A safety training certificate from the National Rifle Association, Department of Criminal Justice Services or other similar authority.
- Completion certificate from a law enforcement safety training agency.
- Participation certificate of any shooting event/contest/exhibition approved by the Virginia Department of State Police or the US Military.
- Copy of previous firearm license from the Commonwealth.
- Completion certificate of firearms safety training organized for the general public.
The application form for the firearms license can be obtained on the Virginia State Police website. The application form is non-refundable and costs $100. You will be asked to provide details like:
- Name, age, gender, occupation, and income
- Home and office address
You will also have to provide a 2X2" frontal photograph of yourself, taken under six months before the application. You must also submit your photo ID proof and training certificates, plus the military documents where relevant.Provide biometrics for your background check
Next, you will be asked to provide your biometric information:
- A complete set of fingerprints
- A full-frontal photograph
The Virginia State Police will conduct a thorough background investigation, and if you pass, you will be granted the license for 5 years. If you lose your license during this period, you can get it replaced for $5.
Gun License renewal in Virginia
Renewal costs $50 in Virginia and must be processed four months before the date of expiration of the existing license. The authorities have the right to revoke/suspend your license in the event you are found guilty of a crime. You have the power to contest this revocation at the judicial level.