Wearing A Mask While Legally Carrying A Gun In Virginia

Wearing A Mask While Legally Carrying A Gun In Virginia iStock-
Wearing A Mask While Legally Carrying A Gun In Virginia iStock-1213749604

RICHMOND VIRGINIA-(Ammoland.com)- There has been a lot of uproar on social media and gun websites about Virginia’s new mask requirements that Governor Northam implemented through executive order due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Memes and messages have littered my social media feeds and inboxes claiming that these new mask requirements stop otherwise law-abiding Virginia citizens from carrying a firearm while wearing a mask.

There also have been plenty of articles claiming everything from these mask requirements being a gray area in the Virginia law to it is an automatic felony for anyone who dared to wear a mask while carrying a firearm. With people spreading so much confusion and misinformation about the Governor’s executive order on mask and firearms, I decided to reach out to Virginia attorneys (specializing in gun laws) and law enforcement officers to get the truth about the legality of carrying a gun while wearing a mask.

First, let’s look at the Virginia anti-mask law. The anti-mask statute is 18.2-422. It doesn’t ban the wearing of all masks, as some people claim. It only forbids the wearing of mask WITH THE INTENT TO CONCEAL YOUR IDENTITY. This clause is the reason why you can wear a mask to protect or face from the elements during the harsh winter months. The law exists to prevent a criminal from using a mask to conceal their identity while committing a crime such as a bank robbery.

Furthermore, the statute lays out a few built-in exceptions to the anti-mask law. It allows a person to wear a mask for medical reasons. Wearing a mask to prevent COVID-19 is an exception to the rule for a medical reason. It also states that a Governor’s emergency declaration will waive the statute. Since Northam issued an emergency declaration, he technically waived the law automatically. This law does not even mention guns at all. Also, if it did and you are not trying to hide your identity, doing it for medical reasons, or in response to the Governor’s emergency declaration, then you would be exempt from following the statute.

The Virginia concealed carry provisions are 18.2-308 et seq. The wearing of masks while being armed is not mentioned once anywhere in the statute. There is nothing in this provision that would cause the mask-wearing gun owner from running afoul of the law. You can wear a mask and carry a gun.

Indeed, as many online have claimed, Executive Order 63 (the mask EO) didn’t expressly waive the provisions of 18.2-422, but Governor Northam didn’t need to reject the statute. He did waive it anyway, but just not in EO 63. He waived the anti-mask rule in Executive Order 53. Even if Northam didn’t waive the anti-mask statute (he did), gun owners still wouldn’t be breaking the law while carrying a gun and wearing a mask.

After consulting with multiple lawyers and police officers from across the Commonwealth, AmmoLand has not been able to find any Virginia statute which makes it a crime to carry a gun while wearing a mask.

The bottom line is that carrying a firearm while wearing a medical mask in Virginia is not against the law. There is not a gray area in the statute. It is black and white.


About John CrumpJohn Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC, and is the co-host of The Patriot-News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.

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Captain Witold Pilecki
3 months ago

I live in Kommiecticut and NEVER wear the mask of oppression. As yet not one person has had the nerve to challenge me on it. God help them if they do. They will be schooled on what it is like to walk around as a FREE CITIZEN.

Vern
Vern
3 months ago

It is no longer about the virus, it is about control. They are trying to start a war.

StLPro2A
StLPro2A
3 months ago

Doesn’t matter whether it is truly against the law or not. What matters is some LEO thinks it is against the law. You will end up in bracelets, booked, and spending $10,000s to prove him wrong. Illinois has the same situation. Lib Gov. Pritsker basically said “no problem”, “trust your government”. NOT!!!! Good luck with that. Get back to us on how it works out for Virginia. Give a Liberal a chance, and they’ll take your freedoms and your rights. That, you can put your trust in. Trust me..

Mikial
Mikial
3 months ago

My wife and I both wear protective masks when we do our weekly shopping since the Covid began, and we both carry our EDC. No one will ever know we are carrying unless something happens that requires us to defend themselves, and then it won’t really matter anyway.

American Patriot
American Patriot
3 months ago

Doesn’t matter what the law is, an executive order by the Gov. circumvents the law.
Just like their stay at home orders for the sick & healthy, business closures for some & not others (deemed non essential) circumvents the the Constitution. These days it doesn’t matter what the law is, those in charge deem if they will or not uphold that law, mob rule or democratic rule.

Get Out
Get Out
3 months ago

Be smart, don’t engage in any activity to draw attention of LE whether OC or CCW. CCW is just that, don’t let anyone see your weapon. If you choose to open carry with mask on and are challenged by LE, un-mask to sort out the issue if required.

Whatzit
Whatzit
3 months ago

Just tell them you are a BLM demonstrator and you are untouchable.

Finnky
Finnky
3 months ago
Reply to  Whatzit

@Whatzit – You clearly haven’t been seeing the videos of official attacks on demonstrators. Looks to me like there is a concerted effort being made to divide the citizenry – so that we will be OK with denial of each other’s civil rights. Those of us concerned with preserving the 2nd need to also concern ourselves with protecting the 1st. Being somewhat selfish – I also see this as a way to educate the loser aligned protestors as to the importance of the 2nd. Can you imagine a few hundred police choosing to attack a few thousand AR-toting civil rights… Read more »

Gdubb
Gdubb
3 months ago

While VA law may technically allow CC with a mask, trusting the Northam administration is not advised. I’d be willing to bet if you had a medical mask on and were forced to pull your weapon to protect yourself, they would still find a way to charge you for concealing your identity while armed. Trusting communists is a fool’s errand.

Gindy
Gindy
3 months ago

Mask? What mask? Just say that you’re “peacefully demonstrating” and all should be well!

Northam, Cuomo, Murphy, Whitmer, Newsom and every other Democrat governor have turned their heads on the so-called pandemic with masks and social distancing to support the dismantling of this country. Murphy (NJ) when asked about prioritizing the pandemic lockdown requirements versus the rioting and looting stated that this (demonstrators) are more important!

So there you go. Just do whatever the crowd is doing and you should be good. Maybe pin on a “Biden” button for good measure!

Heed the Call-up
Heed the Call-up
3 months ago
Reply to  Gindy

“Maybe pin on a “Biden” button”, with an arrow pointed at it and the statement, “I’m with stupid”.