USCCA Laws Page for VA and No Weapons Signs

I’m not entirely sure, but it appears that the laws page for VA may need to be corrected. It says that “No Weapons Signs” are not enforceable. But 18.2-308.01© states:

C. The granting of a concealed handgun permit pursuant to this article 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.

Just wanted to verify the VA listing is correct. Thank you!

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Hopefully someone with actual legal expertise can chime in since IANAL, but…

My understanding is that signs are not enforceable in the same way that they are in other states like Texas with their 30.06 and 30.07 signs. In those states the signs must be displayed in a specific way (size, text, location), gun owners know where to look for them, and if you are caught with a firearm then just being there subjects you to the penalty (in Texas their 30.06 & 30.07 signs result in misdemeanors and fines, other states may vary).

In Virginia, there is no “official sign” with rules on where it is to be displayed. If a business has a “no weapons” policy of some sort, and they discover you have a firearm they can ask you to leave because of that policy. As long as you leave right away there is no problem. But if you don’t leave then you are trespassing and you would be subject to any of the penalties that go along with that. I am not aware of any “extra” penalties for trespassing with a firearm where it is banned by the property owner.

EDIT: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “no firearms” sign. I have seen some “no weapons” signs I think at doctor offices and they were big right at the door. Most other places you’re just supposed to “know” you can’t carry there like courthouses, schools, etc

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Thanks for the feedback, @Harvey! That makes sense, I wasn’t aware that there are some states that have official language for the “no weapons signs” as you mentioned. I’m interested in hearing more about 18.2-308.01© and if it has criminal repercussions attached to it.

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Hopefully @Dawn will weigh in

I live on TN/VA border, from what I’m told, unless the buildings in question are mentioned in VA code, the signs cannot be enforced. I carry on both sides of the line, so I try to keep up with the laws for both. They can ask you to leave and if you don’t, you can get popped with a trespass charge though.

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I would add, however, consult with local authorities. The interpretations can be broad and what might work in rural SWVA, may not work in Richmond or Newport News. There’s still a slight Mayberry attitude in this area at times.

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Sorry, @JTS! I totally missed this post! I’m having our reciprocity expert check it out!

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I know that the enforcement of “No Weapons Allowed” signs is something that can be a tad confusing, but if you look at the smaller font question below that headline, it helps to explain the legalese. For this issue it reads, “Are “No Weapons Allowed” signs enforced in VA? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.”

In other words, in VA, although it’s still illegal to violate one of these signs, it is not considered a criminal offense. It would likely be considered some type of trespass. I hope that helps!

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Thank you so much for the clarification!! Thanks, @Dawn!

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I would be particularly interested in this as I live in VA and my understanding is if you are approached by a store employee and asked to leave (for any reason not just carrying a firearm), then you should do so or you will be subject to trespass law. Trespass law is a WIDE law and there are certain provisions for “including a firearm”. If the police are summoned (as I understand it) and they are your first contact they will ask you to depart the premises, no harm no foul, you missed the sign. (Side note just because I think this way: If you are asked to leave, ask them to accompany you out of the store/mall etc. You may be walking from one gun free zone into another with yet another accusation.) Had you been approached and refused to leave, then that is another issue. Police in general will try very hard to NOT to “make paper” and in doing so impart some good will to the law abiding public.

Cheers,

Craig6

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