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Old March 6, 2013, 11:45 PM   #1
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Considering moving from NY to VA

This is mostly a broad, general gun law question with one or two other things thrown in.

Does VA have a decent gun culture? How ingrained are guns in Virginia's society? How easy is a CCW to obtain and does it have many restrictions? Are citizens trying to push new restrictions in the state? Anything is better than our situation in NY, and I know I can find Virginia's gun laws online but it's nice to hear it from people familiar with the state's politics.

On a side note, how is the weather there? The three main reasons I'm looking to move there once I'm out of college is little snow, along with a more lax gun environment and cheaper cost of living.

I'm also considering the Carolinas if anyone familiar with those states wants to chime in, but I think Virginia is my top choice.

Thanks guys,

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Old March 7, 2013, 12:04 AM   #2
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I lived on the northern coast for a bit. Virginia has temperate summers, and the winters are easier than New York. The countryside (which is in abundance) is beautiful on the eastern side of the state.

Virginia has more of a gun culture than New York, owing mostly to a lack of the sorts of restrictions you're accustomed to. CCW is relatively easy, and gun ownership isn't treated like a dirty little secret.

Oh, and property taxes are way lower than NY!
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Old March 7, 2013, 12:14 AM   #3
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I believe you will find your gun rights are respected more in Virginia or either Carolina.

People that live there will be able to give more personal examples, but I think you will find that through most of the south, you will find a pretty positive atmosphere for gun ownership.

The winters in Va will be colder than the Carolina's but probably not as bad the the New York winter.

This might answer some of your questions about the state of things in Virginia

Here in Georgia our winters are mild, summers are hot and the time between is sort of random mix of sun, rain, hot, cold, and nearly always humid. Getting a concealed carry permit requires going to the court house and the jail and giving them a total of 80 dollars, filling out the forms and getting fingerprinted. After that you get your permit shortly after. Our gun laws are relaxed. One can walk into the LGS, pick a gun, fill out the paperwork, pay and walk out with the gun.

The weather in the Carolina's is going to be a bit colder than it is here in Georgia during the winter. Expect balmy summers, mild winters with some but not a lot of snow. I don't know much of their gun laws but I know its a lot better situation than New York.
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Old March 7, 2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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Hello and welcome from the Ol' Dominion, come on down. Our gun laws are very reasonable. Open carry is legal here and in most areas nobody even notices. There are may gun clubs around the state plus the NRA is headquartered here. At the NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, VA there is the National Firearms Museum, a place I would highly recommend visiting.
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Old March 7, 2013, 07:57 PM   #5
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The attitudes about guns vary drastically with geography, based on my experience. I grew up in Central Virginia, and in my little corner of suburbia, nobody had guns that I knew of. They just weren't used or discussed. As crime got worse there, guns for defensive purposes began to proliferate, but were always concealed and not really discussed.

In Southwestern Virginia, where I live now, it is very different. Everyone here (except for the transplants from the DC area and assorted naive college students) has guns. Many people hunt, many people carry concealed, and I know several people who reload. Several years ago I rode my motorcycle to the (free) shooting range which is part of the National Forest with ammo in my saddlebags and an SKS with a 30 round magazine thrown over my back. Unusual, to be sure, but it didn't cause any concern. Guys in the machine shop here constantly discuss guns, and frequently make gun parts. In fact, tonight one of the guys gave me a 22 Hornet casing the he loaded without powder specially for my cartridge collection. Several of the engineers I know do practical pistol work and own suppressors.

Since I live in the county, I can shoot anything I want off my back porch. The last contractor we had over to do an energy audit admired my gun safe and I got out a few guns to show him... he's an AR-15 buff. Gun shows in the two adjacent mini-cities (they're not really big cities) every few months at least.

However, if you move to northern or eastern VA, it will not be so good. More crime but less social acceptance of guns.

Weather-wise, we have a little of everything. 100+ in the summer, and usually less than 20 degrees on cold winter nights. Single digits are rare but can happen in some places. Humidity can be quite high during the summer, but I like that.

If you have any specific questions, please ask, and I'll do my best to answer.

EDIT: If you aren't a convict, concealed carry is easy to get. Take a class and do the paperwork. Pay a small fee. Lasts for 5 years, can be renewed without taking another class. The shooting at Virginia Tech a few years ago did result in some legislation restricting carry (even permit-holding concealed) on college campuses. That's about it... I think they know that the western half of the state would throw a screaming fit if they tried much. We certainly have our share of antis, but they're not currently running mad like in other parts of the country.

EDIT2: Cost of living varies enormously. Where we live, a combined income of around $80k before taxes places us solidly in the middle class. We own 2 cars, 5.5 acres of land, and a 3k sq. ft. house in a fairly well-off area where 5 acres is the minimum parcel size. That would be totally impossible on our income in the northern and eastern part of the state. You may want to add Tennessee to your list. They have no property taxes, so farmers don't lose their farms when people decide their land is desirable.
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Last edited by Daekar; March 7, 2013 at 08:14 PM.
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Old March 7, 2013, 08:19 PM   #6
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Considering moving from NY to VA
I don't blame you. I would have to leave NY, even if it was my home. Between the property tax and guns laws...I would be gone as soon as I could make the transition.JMO
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Old March 7, 2013, 10:22 PM   #7
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Virginia seemed to be fairly decent about it for the short time I was there. The weather there is slightly milder(i.e., not so hot in summer) than the Carolinas, unless you are in the mountains.

North Carolina has a really idiotic Jim Crow era pistol purchase permit law that is still on the books. You must obtain a permit from the county sheriff to buy a pistol. That was recently amended so that CCW holders can buy pistols without also needing to get a pistol permit. No permits needed for long guns


The only positive aspect of the NC pistol permit is that you can also use it instead of waiting for the background check, as it is a substitute for the Brady requirements(the Sheriffs run the checks when they process the permit app.). Same day pickup. With a permit use at an FFL you can get a single pistol and as many long guns as you can afford.

The NC pistol permits have different requirements in every county - AFAIK all at the discretion of the currently elected Sheriff. (I guess some counties were more racist than others when the law was crafted.) Some counties are very straightforward, some have extra idiotic hoops to jump through. If it is an issue, check with the county sheriff before moving in. I got lucky....

So now I want to leave NC for TX or LA, where hooligans still often ride the highways with their shotguns on window racks of their pick-ups, and there are lots of places to shoot.
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Old March 7, 2013, 10:33 PM   #8
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I have lived in Virginia all my life. I grew up in Fairfax (just outside of DC) and currently live in Norfolk (near Va Beach). I spend time out in the mountains as well as I own property there.

Gun laws are reasonable and there was a small push for further restrictions from the state house and Senate, but they did not make it out of committee. Thanks, in part, to the lobbying efforts of VCDL and other gun rights orgs. As has been mentioned, we are a "shall issue" state, meaning a CCW is not difficult to get. We are also a open carry state, that requires no permit

I am not sure about the "gun culture" question. Most of my friends own guns, some don't. There are plenty of places to shoot. I ride my motorcycle to the range from time to time with a rifle slung across my back in a case and I have never had a problem.

As also was mentioned, the state is very different depending on where you live. Northern VA is expensive and crowded and tends to be a little more liberal. Richmond is a tad liberal, as is the Hampton Roads area. That does not impact gun laws as state law overrides any local ordinance (most of the time).

The weather here in the Norfolk area tends to be warmer then the rest of the state. We get snow from time to time, but nothing major and certainly not like NY. For example, I do not winterize my motorcycle as I know there will be a day every couple of weeks, even during the winter, when I can ride.

I don't have the option at the moment, but if I could pick a place to live it would be a little further west toward the mountains. I would love to live at my place in the mountains, but my job will not allow it.
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Old March 8, 2013, 12:19 AM   #9
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Norther Virginia

I have lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years. I am a high school teacher. I regularly discuss hunting and reloading with my co-workers. A couple weeks ago I went to a gun show with some friends from church and ran into some friends from work. Tonight at the close of my bible study we were discussing guns, ammunition and teaching our children to shoot.

There is room for gun owners in Northern Virginia.
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Old March 8, 2013, 12:00 PM   #10
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Never been to new york but i have lived in VA my whole life. If you want a lower cost of living look at Richmond. North VA has higher COL and terrible traffic. Hampton roads is not too bad as far as COL but traffic is horrendous there as well. We are a face to face state meaning I can sell any eligible resident a gun.
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Old March 8, 2013, 04:01 PM   #11
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I lived in VA for 10 years. Great state. Great seafood (on the coast), great people, beuatiful country. The weather is much nicer too. Gun culture is VERY acceptable. There is more crime in the larger cities, but that is true of any state. Parts of Richmond, Newport News, DC area are places I would avoid living due to the crime, but again true of any larger city. I love TN now that I am here, but I would not live in parts of Nashville or Memphis.

Living in general in TN and VA is much less restrictive than up north. I did live in Fishkill NY for a year, and hail from New England area. If I had to leave TN, I would hope to end up in Charlottesville or Staunton, VA.
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Old March 8, 2013, 04:12 PM   #12
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"Never been to new york but i have lived in VA my whole life. If you want a lower cost of living look at Richmond. North VA has higher COL and terrible traffic. Hampton roads is not too bad as far as COL but traffic is horrendous there as well. We are a face to face state meaning I can sell any eligible resident a gun."

Yeah, I forgot to mention traffic down here in the Va Beach area. During the summer it is no fun sitting in the tourist filled bridge tunnel traffic.

I also did not mean to insult my friends in NOVA, I grew up there and like it. It has just changed a lot since the days I use to hunt in my backyard and ride my ATV through the farms that now are part of "downtown" Reston.
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Old March 8, 2013, 08:40 PM   #13
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Go west young man, go west. But, Virginia is a good choice too over New York.
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Old March 8, 2013, 09:42 PM   #14
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If the gun laws were the only thing I was considering, then I would go to Wyoming. I did move here to Virginia from Maryland though mostly due to their hostile gun laws and insane taxes.
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:20 PM   #15
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One thing VA has is you can carry with your CCP in a restaurant that serves alcohol as long as you don't drink.

NC has yet to pass that.

NC does have castle doctrine. VA does not. VA needs to get on the ball with that one.

NC, have to have a permit to buy a pistol unless you have CCP.

VA no permit needed.

NC background checks are easier. I believe that if you have a valid NC CCP they accept that without another check. If so pretty cool.

VA does a state AND federal regardless.

Had a problem at a local VA walmart with my driver's license. No street address. They did not want to accept it. I do have a CCP and other ID. They still said no go.

Went home did my homework, called the State police firearms transaction center too. Went back and set them straight but by then the 10/22 was gone..........

ANYTHING is better than NY but then you know THAT.

Good luck wherever you land.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:27 AM   #16
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If you do move to Virginia, one line to NEVER use is, "Well that's not the way we did it in New York."

We know that. That's why you moved from New York.

Seriously, come on down. Most of us stopped fighting the war a long time ago. Some of us even married yankee women, and find them quite agreeable. We will pick on you about being from Naw Yawk though.

I've lived in Virgina all my life so I can't comment on living anywhere else, but my wife has lived all over. She loves it here. Two hours east we're at the beach. Two hours west, we're driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. Dozens of places to fish. Mostly bass fishing, but everything from offshore salt water, to little trout streams. Most hunting is on private land, but there is a fair ammount of land open to the public.

Traffic up in "occoupied Virginia" (near DC) is bad, but not as bad as the Chicago area or Lord help us New York (I spent a week lost in the NYC area one night). Tidewater traffic (Norfolk, Hampton, Virginia Beach, etc.) can be pretty bad too. If traveling country roads, be prepared to get stuck behind a tractor or a combine.

The others have covered the gun laws pretty well. The only thing I can add is I have never met anyone who seemed to think it odd that I own and carry guns or that I like to hunt and fish.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:23 AM   #17
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NC does have castle doctrine. VA does not. VA needs to get on the ball with that one.
I thought so too, until I researched it. We have 'Case Law' which seems to supercede it. Call if you want to talk about it.

Like mentioned before, don't say "But we did it this way in NY." It's getting so no state wants transplants that want to change things to the NY way. My wife if from NYC. She loves being able to carry here all the time. Our only issue is that she forgets she's armed whenever we need to go to court. So far, she hasn't been arrested, just disarmed, and I'd take it, or them out to the car.
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Old March 11, 2013, 10:04 PM   #18
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I live in the mountains in the far Southwestern end of Virginia. We hillbillies think differently than those on the eastern half of the state. That part of the state has been infiltrated by outsiders and no longer represents the real Virginia. Here in the mountains near NC, TN, WV and KY, we don't have to ask anyone if they have a gun, only what kind do they have. We are a conservative independent bunch of people who have been outvoted by city folks for the last several elections. Several years ago in one of the coal field counties near the WV and KY border, a man was charged with killing another man. His sole defense was "He needed killing". Everyone in the county knew both the killer and the killed. The jury agreed and let him go.
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Old March 12, 2013, 10:01 AM   #19
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While stories like that are humorous there is no way I would support our justice system here in VA as a whole being run that way. Good ol boy networks are wholly inept at dealing with large groups of people fairly.
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Old March 12, 2013, 11:29 PM   #20
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NYC born & raised, but I'd never go back there to live.
Two of my 4 kids live in VA, and I was stationed in the Tidewater area for a while.
Attractive state, temperate climate for the most part. Much lower taxes than NY - and you can buy a 16 oz soda if you wish!
VA generally firearm friendly.
All in all, I would argue there is a much better quality of life in VA than in NY
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Old March 12, 2013, 11:42 PM   #21
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NC does have castle doctrine. VA does not. VA needs to get on the ball with that one.
I thought so too, until I researched it. We have 'Case Law' which seems to supercede it. Call if you want to talk about it.
Yep, that's an interesting point about Virginia law. Very little firearms law is actually written down in the statutes, compared to other states. But we have hundreds of years of legal precedent to refer to, and gun owners here have very good protections. We don't need a specific "Castle Doctrine", because Virginia is a "stand your ground" state - whether you're in your home or in public.

There was actually an attempt made a few years ago here to pass a Castle Doctrine law, but it was shot down, largely because of efforts by the PRO-gun groups who realized that the proposed law would actually give us *fewer* protections compared to what we have already established via existing case law.

Another interesting quirk - as noted upthread, you can carry concealed in a restaurant that serves alcohol, as long as you're not drinking. BUT, drinking alcohol in that same restaurant is perfectly legal while carrying *openly*. It's not a good idea, but it is legal.
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Old March 13, 2013, 04:23 PM   #22
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I obviously didn't know that about castle doctrine and the open carry and drinking, not that I would do it.

Thanks for the info.
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Old March 14, 2013, 12:21 PM   #23
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Grew up in NoVa, now closer to Williamsburg.

C'mon down!
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Old March 15, 2013, 08:47 PM   #24
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All in all, I would argue there is a much better quality of life in VA than in NY
I would second that and add better than most of New England as well.
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Old March 16, 2013, 09:35 AM   #25
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Born and raised in NJ, found my way to VA via the Navy and never left. Got out almost 4 years ago and have since gotten a college degree and bought a house in southwest VA. Nothing but friendly people who don't seem to mind my being a Yankee.
Property taxes are great here, 4.4 acres and 2500sq ft house, taxes last year were $350.
Quality of life has been much better down here, honestly I think just the attitude around here has helped lower my blood pressure and stress levels a lot.
Too many to list...enjoy em all!
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