The Constitution of the United States gives you the right to own a firearm but Virginia's laws limit where you can legally carry a gun and bans owning some types of firearms within the state's boundaries. Using your firearm while committing a felony means you could face additional criminal charges. If you have been charged with a gun crime, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney to defend your freedom and your Constitutional right to own a firearm.
Prohibited Places to Carry a Gun in Virginia
Virginia law prohibits people from carrying firearms into certain places. These include, but are not limited to:
- Places of worship. A person convicted of carrying a firearm into a place of worship is guilty of a Class 4 Misdemeanor.
- Courthouse. A person convicted off carrying a firearm into a courthouse is guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Law enforcement may seize the weapon.
- Airport terminal. A person convicted of carrying a firearm into an airport terminal is guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The Commonwealth will seize the weapon involved and dispose of it.
- School property. A person convicted of possessing a firearm on school property or on a school bus is guilty of a Class 6 Felony. If the person uses or intends to use the firearm, or displays it in a threatening manner, they are guilty of a Class 6 Felony with a mandatory prison sentence of five years, served consecutive to any other sentence.
- Public areas. Some areas of Virginia prohibit carrying a loaded semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol equipped with a magazine that holds 20 rounds of ammunition or more. Prohibited areas include Arlington, Fairfax, Henrico, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Falls Church, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach. Violating these restrictions is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
Shooting From a Vehicle
Virginia law prohibits anyone from intentionally shooting a firearm from a vehicle, creating the risk of injury or death to another person, or causing another person to have a reasonable apprehension of injury or death. A person convicted of shooting from a vehicle is guilty of a Class 5 Felony.
Use or Display of a Firearm in Committing a Felony
Virginia law specifies that using or displaying a firearm while committing another felony constitutes a "separate and distinct" felony charge. Anyone convicted of this charge faces a mandatory prison sentence of three years for a first conviction, and five years for any subsequent convictions. These run consecutively to any penalties resulting from the primary felony.
If the firearm involved in a crime is a sawed-off shotgun or rifle, the person is guilty of a Class 2 Felony. Possessing a sawed-off shotgun or rifle in Virginia, even when not used in a crime, is a Class 4 Felony.
Have You Been Charged With a Gun Crime in Virginia?
Virginia and Washington, D.C., take gun crimes seriously. If you have been charged with a gun crime, you need aggressive legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the intricacies of Virginia's gun crimes laws to protect your freedom and your Constitutional right to own a firearm. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, have the courtroom experience to build the strongest defense for you. Call us today at (202) 489-0720 or contact us online.