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Virginia gun laws are quite relaxed. You do not need a permit to buy or possess any firearm except handguns. However, can you shoot on your property in Virginia?
Open carry is permitted and the CCW permit is honored by 36 states. It is legal to carry in restaurants unless otherwise defined by the owner.
The state also recognizes the people’s right to keep and bear arms with provisions on the protection of human life. Thus, being a gun owner in Virginia can be quite enjoyable.
If you are wondering whether you can exercise your right to shoot on your property, the information below may be of help.
Can You Shoot on Your Property in Virginia?
Yes, you can shoot on your property in Virginia because there are no specific laws against doing so. However, you need to keep in mind that each county or city may have its own prohibitions if they have been authorized by the state to do so. To be on the safe side, you should contact local authorities first.
If the private property in question is a school or it is usually used for school functions or extra-curricular activities, shooting on it is illegal. Breaking this law can attract up to 5 years in prison and a hefty fine of $2,500.
The top three things to pay attention to are:
- Noise ordinance
Noise Ordinance in Relation to Shooting on Your Property
Virginia is one of the states that has a concrete noise ordinance in place. The Code of Ordinances states that nobody shall cause a sound level that is heard in another person’s dwelling in excess of 55dBA between the hours of 10.00pm and 7.00am and 65dBA between 7.00am and 10.00pm.
This is when measured inside the residence four feet or more from the wall closest to the source with doors and windows closed.
Although shooting ranges are protected from noise ordinance laws, shooting on your property may not carry the same weight. You have two options: you either shoot on your property in a rural area where there is more space, or you use firearms that are within the stipulated ordinance.
Hunting on Your Property
Similar to recreational shooting, some counties or towns may have ordinances against hunting on private property, especially near residences.
Before you start hunting on your property, it is important to make sure that you are allowed to do so. According to the Virginia DWR, it is illegal for others to shoot on your land without your permission.
Afterwards, you need to keep up with hunting regulations is order to stay on the safe side. Make sure that the animals are approved by local authorities.
Check to ensure that your licenses are up to date and find out whether you need a permit for any specific game. Depending on the county that you are in, you may also be prohibited from using certain firearms when hunting.
Precautions When Shooting on Your Property
In order to have a safe and fun experience, there are two main precautions that you should keep in mind: the ‘red flag’ law and children interacting with weapons.
If you use your weapon in a manner that attracts the attention of the local authorities, a judge can issue a 14-day emergency substantial risk order that takes away your firearm privileges if they feel you are a danger to yourself and others.
After the court hearing, the judge can extend the number of days until they are satisfied that all is well.
According to an article by the Virginian Pilot, if you have children at home, you need to keep your firearms away from them.
If you run a daycare, you are required by law to lock up the weapons during hours of operation. Leaving a loaded weapon carelessly around children is a class 1 misdemeanor and may attract jail time.
In order to enjoy using your firearms on private property in Virginia, you must ensure that you abide by local authority rules. These restrictions differ depending on where you are and it is better to confirm with local authorities beforehand. Keep loaded weapons away from children and shoot in a responsible manner.