As the 2020 election season comes around, recent events make it unclear what to expect when gun owners prepare to vote. Here is what you need to know when it comes to voting in this year’s election.

Carrying Firearms at Polling Places

Virginia has no law that generally restricts the carrying of firearms at polling places; however, depending on the polling location, a variety of other restrictions may impact your ability to carry a firearm while voting.

Beginning July 1, 2020 and pursuant to Va. Code § 15.2-915, localities in Virginia can exclude firearms in any building owned or used by the locality or owned or used by any authority or local governmental entity. Localities can also ban weapons in community centers or recreation centers controlled by the government. Government used buildings may include locations such as libraries and fire halls where polling places are arranged.

This does not mean every community center or government location across the state is necessarily prohibited, but your locality has the option to impose such restrictions. Before going to a polling place in one of these spaces, you need to verify whether your locality has restricted weapons.

Other popular polling places, such as schools, may also be off limits under Virginia law.

Navigating a Protest or Demonstration

If you decide to vote in person and encounter a protest, I urge you to keep a level head and attempt to avoid escalating the situation. Remember, if you engage protesters and wind up in an altercation, you may  end up in handcuffs and  not be able to vote. This may be the goal of some protestors who are looking to incite violence. Voting is a critical civil right and responsibility that we enjoy, and I encourage everyone to vote. After all, every vote counts.

If you have more questions about voting in Virginia, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with an Independent Program Attorney.

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