Virginia Gun Crime Law

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Virginia Gun Crime Attorneys

Virginia’s gun laws encompass a wide range of scenarios, where legality can vary from person to person. The complexity of these laws arises due to variations based on criminal records, certifications, and similar factors. To gain clarity on which laws pertain to your particular situation, it is advisable to seek guidance from a knowledgeable Virginia gun attorney.

In order to regulate the possession and transportation of firearms and related weapons, Virginia has implemented two primary sections, namely § 18.2-308 and § 18.2-311. These sections are further divided into multiple subsections that address specific circumstances in a more detailed manner.

If you find yourself facing accusations related to any of the specific subsections under § 18.2-308 and § 18.2-311, it is crucial to reach out to a skilled Northern Virginia (NoVa) gun attorney who can assist you in navigating the intricacies of your case. A lawyer experienced in this area will possess knowledge about past interpretations of these laws and can draw upon established precedents to determine appropriate penalties.

It is important to acknowledge the clear distinctions between firearms intended for hunting, target shooting, and similar activities, as opposed to those used for personal defense. While carrying a hunting weapon on your own property or state game land without a permit is lawful, it is necessary to adhere to certain guidelines. For instance, when transporting such a weapon in your vehicle, it must be unloaded, and the ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm itself. Standard regulations govern the carrying of this type of weapon in government buildings, public spaces, and similar locations.

Carrying Concealed Weapons

A Virginia gun attorney can provide insights into the most common gun violations, which often involve concealed weapons and handguns. According to § 18.2-308, carrying a concealed firearm, such as a pistol, revolver, or any type of handgun, in a manner that conceals it from public view can lead to a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense. A second offense carries a Class 6 felony charge, while a third offense is considered a Class 5 felony.

The penalties for these crimes vary depending on the specific circumstances. A first offense misdemeanor may result in a brief jail term and fines, whereas repeated offenses that lead to felony charges can lead to more extended periods of incarceration. Additionally, individuals with felony convictions are disqualified from obtaining a permit to carry a handgun in the future. This restriction is imposed due to the prior indication that the person has demonstrated a disregard for applicable laws. It is important to note that under Virginia law, no permit is required for the purchase of any type of firearm, be it a handgun, shotgun, or rifle.


Certain exceptions exist within the carrying laws. One such exception is outlined in § 15.2-915, which safeguards an individual’s right to store or carry a firearm in a locked vehicle. Furthermore, individuals are permitted to possess such weapons within their own residences, their business premises, and while traveling to or from a shooting range. Collectors and individuals involved in legal firearms trade are also authorized to carry firearms when transitioning between their homes, places of business, gun shows, and other authorized sales events.

Despite having the appropriate permit for carrying a concealed weapon, it may still be advisable to consult a Virginia gun lawyer who can accompany you to court and safeguard your rights. Any individual without a criminal record is eligible to apply for this permit. Once the application is submitted, mandatory training is required, unless the applicant already possesses recognized training approved by NoVa. This training covers aspects of firearm safety, as well as relevant laws and regulations. It also includes shooting exercises to ensure familiarity with the chosen handgun. While attending the class, you have the option to bring your own handgun, but you are prohibited from carrying it until the permit is officially issued. Alternatively, you can rent a firearm from the range and subsequently purchase your own firearm later. It is important to note that carrying the concealed weapon is legally permissible only after completing the class and being issued the official permit, which you should have on your person as proof for law enforcement officers. Additionally, certain locations, such as government buildings and certain workplaces, prohibit the carrying of firearms even with a permit.

Law Enforcement Officers

Law enforcement personnel have the privilege to carry firearms both while on duty and during their off-duty hours. This authority is granted to them under part 7 of subsection B, which is encompassed within §18.2-308. Moreover, this same right is extended to retired law enforcement officers who served within the same agency. Similarly, individuals who have retired from comparable government agencies, like the Department of Fish and Wildlife and various branches of the armed forces, maintain the freedom to carry firearms according to their preference. Additionally, §23-232 confers the right to carry a weapon upon certain designated campus police officers employed at colleges and universities.

Exotic Weapons

According to Virginia law, certain exotic weapons can be owned legally, although their carry restrictions may differ from other types of weapons. For instance, the possession of brass knuckles is regulated under § 18.2-311. This section specifically prohibits carrying, selling, distributing, and trading such weapons. Even if you possess a concealed carry permit, it is still illegal to carry brass knuckles, as no permits are issued for them. Violating these laws is considered a Class 4 misdemeanor, leading to potential charges.

Another relevant statute, § 18.2-311.1, pertains to firearms that have been altered from their original state or those manufactured at home. Intentionally modifying, changing, or tampering with the maker, model, serial number, or other identifying features of a firearm is prohibited. A conviction for this offense carries a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. If you face any charges related to breaking gun laws, it is essential to seek the assistance of a Virginia gun lawyer who can provide legal representation to protect your rights.


In 2011, Virginia witnessed 208 gun-related murders, marking a 17 percent decrease compared to the previous year. This decline mirrored the overall 3 percent drop observed throughout the United States. Firearm murders accounted for 69 percent of all homicides in Virginia, while the national average stood at 68 percent. The firearm murder rate in Virginia was calculated as 2.58 per 100,000 individuals. Similarly, using the same standardized scale, the firearm robbery rate was 35.4, and the firearm assault rate was 21.35. Comparatively, the national rates were 39.25 and 43.77, respectively, indicating that Virginia, particularly NoVa, is relatively safer concerning gun violence.

Consulting with a Virginia attorney is crucial to stay informed about recent legal changes. For instance, in 2010, a law was passed allowing individuals with permits to carry concealed weapons in bars and restaurants serving alcohol, which was previously prohibited under state law. The subsequent year saw a decrease of up to 5.2 percent in gun-related crimes within these establishments. Additionally, data analysis revealed that only a small percentage of incidents involved individuals with permits, suggesting that most incidents occurred among those carrying firearms illegally, irrespective of the law’s changes.

If you are facing charges related to § 18.2-308, § 18.2-311, § 18.2-279, or similar sections of the law, it is imperative to seek assistance from a Virginia gun lawyer. Prior to your case, our lawyers can help determine your defense strategy and potential penalties. They will guide you in understanding the relevant laws, their interpretation, and any violations involved. If you were carrying firearms in a lawful manner or possessed a valid permit, it is crucial to engage the services of a Virginia gun lawyer to ensure your charges are appropriately defended.