Virginia weapon charges are taken very seriously and have severe penalties. Most weapon offenses in Virginia are felonies and many Virginia weapon charges have mandatory minimum penalties that run consecutive with any other charges.
There are a number of crimes in Virginia relating to the possession, use, sale, transfer and registration of many different weapons. There are also a number of crimes involving specific weapons in Virginia. These offenses are all discussed briefly below, and in more detail on other pages of this website.
VIRGINIA WEAPON CHARGES: POSSESSION
Virginia criminalizes a number of acts related to possessing weapons, including possessing weapons in certain places, possession of weapons by people prohibited by law from possessing weapons, possessing certain kinds of weapons, and possessing a firearm while possessing drugs.
Possessing Weapons in Certain Places
- Carrying Gun, Pistol, or Other Dangerous Weapon to Place of Worship (Va. Code §18.2-283)
- Possessing or Carrying Weapon to or in Courthouse (Va. Code §18.2-283.1)
- Possessing or Carrying Weapon to or in Airport (Va. Code §18.2-287.01)
- Carrying Loaded Firearm in Public (Va. Code §18.2-287.4)
- Possessing Firearm or other Weapon on School Property (Va. Code §18.2-308.1)
Possession of Firearm by Prohibited Persons
Certain people are prohibited from possessing, purchasing, or transferring firearms and other weapons in Virginia. Violating this prohibition, or selling or giving a weapon to a prohibited person, is a crime. Some of these crimes include:
- Possession or Transportation of Firearm by Minor (Va. Code §18.2-308.7)
- Purchase or Transportation by Someone Convicted of Certain Drug Offenses (Va. Code §18.2-308.1:5)
- Possession of or Carrying Concealed Firearm by Undocumented Immigrant (Va. Code §18.2-308.2:01)
- Possession of or Carrying a Concealed Assault Firearm by Non-Citizen or Non-Lawful Permanent Resident (Va. Code §18.2-308.2:01)
- Possession, Transportation or Purchase by Someone Acquitted by Reason of Insanity (Va. Code §18.2-308.1:1)
- Possession, Transportation or Purchase of Firearm by Person Adjudicated Incompetent or Mentally Incapacitated (Va. Code §18.2-308.1:2)
- Possession, Transportation or Purchase of Firearm by Involuntarily Committed Person (Va. Code §18.2-308.1:3)
- Purchase or Transportation of Firearm by Subject of Protective Order (Va. Code §18.2-308.1:4)
- Possession or Transportation of Firearm, Firearm Ammunition, Stun Weapon, Explosive or Concealed Weapon by Felon (Va. Code §18.2-308.2)
Possessing Firearm While Possessing Drugs
- Possessing Firearm While Possessing Schedule I or II Controlled Substance (Va. Code §18.2-308.4)
- Possessing Firearm About the Person While Possessing Schedule I or II Controlled Substance (Va. Code §18.2-308.4(B))
- Possessing, Using, or Attempting to Use a Firearm or Displaying a Firearm in a Threatening Manner while Committing or Attempting to Commit Certain Drug Distribution and Manufacturing Offenses (Va. Code §18.2-308.4(C))
For more information on possessing a firearm while committing drug offenses in Virginia, click here.
Possessing Certain Kinds of Weapons
- Possession or Use of Machine Gun for Offensive or Aggressive Purpose (Va. Code §18.2-290)
- Possession or Use of Machine Gun in Perpetration or Attempted Perpetration of Crime of Violence (Va. Code §18.2-289)
- Possession, Importation, or Sale of Streetsweeper or Similar Semi-Automatic Folding Stock Shotgun (Va. Code §18.2-308.8)
- Possession, Transfer, Sale, Importation or Manufacture of Plastic Firearms (Va. Code §18.2-308.5)
- Possession or Use of Sawed-Off Shotgun or Sawed-Off Rifle In Commission of Crime of Violence (Va. Code §18.2-300.A)
- Possession or Use of Sawed-Off or Sawed-Off Rifle Shotgun (Not in Commission of Crime of Violence) (Va. Code §18.2-300.B)
VIRGINIA WEAPON CHARGES: CONCEALED WEAPONS
Carrying a concealed weapon in Virginia (Va. Code §18.2-308) occurs when an offender carries a weapon about his person and hidden from common observation. It is also a violation of this statute to carry a concealed handgun with a permit while under the influence of alcohol or to carry a concealed weapon while consuming alcohol in public.
- Carrying Concealed Weapon (Va. Code §18.2-308)
- Carrying Concealed Weapon While Under the Influence of Alcohol (Va. Code §18.2-308.012(A))
- Carrying Concealed Weapon While Consuming Alcohol in Public (Va. Code §18.2-308.012(B))
- Possession of or Carrying Concealed Firearm or Assault Firearm by Non-Citizen (Va. Code §18.2-308.2:01)
For more information on carrying a concealed weapon in Virginia, click here.
VIRGINIA WEAPON CHARGES: SHOOTING AND DISCHARGING
There are a number of crimes in Virginia involving the accidental or intentional shooting or discharging of firearms, including:
- Shooting Firearm, Cross Bow or Bow and Arrow in/Across a Road or in A Street (Va. Code §18.2-286)
- Shooting Firearm from Vehicle (Va. Code §18.2-286.1)
- Discharge of Firearm in Public (Va. Code §18.2-280(A))
- Discharging Firearm at or in School (Va. Code §18.2-280(B))
- Discharge of Firearm on Public Property within 1,000 Feet of School Grounds (Va. Code §18.2-280(C))
- Maliciously or Unlawfully Shooting at Train or Other Motor Vehicle (Va. Code §18.2-154))
- Shooting at Law-Enforcement Officer or Emergency Services Vehicle (Va. Code §18.2-154)
- Maliciously or Unlawfully Discharging Firearm at or in Building (Va. Code §18.2-279)
VIRGINIA WEAPON CHARGES INVOLVING SPECIFIC WEAPONS
A firearm in Virginia is an instrument which was designed, made and intended to expel a projectile by means of an explosion, even if it is inoperable. A firearm is considered a deadly weapon in Virginia. A number of crimes in Virginia have increased penalties if the offender is armed with a firearm of other deadly weapon. For more information on crimes involving deadly weapons in Virginia, click here.
There are a number of charges in Virginia involving firearms. These include firearm possession charges, brandishing a firearm, use of a firearm, use of a firearm in the commission of a violent felony, using restricted ammunition in the commission of a crime, assault with a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, reckless handling of a firearm, shooting or discharging offenses, hunting, firearm crimes involving children, firearm theft offenses, importation offenses, firearm offenses involving alcohol, crimes related to buying or selling firearms, firearm registration offenses, crimes involving specific firearms, and second and subsequent convictions for Virginia firearm charges. There are also a number of Virginia weapon charges involving specific types of firearms, including handguns, sawed-off shotguns and sawed-off rifles, plastic firearms, toy firearms, machine guns, spring guns, and streetsweepers.
For more information on Virginia weapon charges involving firearms, click here.
Knives and Other Weapons
There are also a number of offenses in Virginia criminalizing certain acts involving other weapons, including knives, bowie knives, daggers, switchblade knives, ballistic knives, dirks, machetes, explosives, stun weapons, blackjacks, razors, sling shots, nun chucks, brass knuckles, throwing stars, spring sticks. and even body armor.
VIRGINIA WEAPON CHARGES INVOLVING MINORS OR CHILDREN
Minors in Virginia are not allowed to possess handguns and certain other weapons. Providing these weapons to minors, or recklessly leaving loaded firearms near children, are crimes. Some of these crimes include:
- Recklessly Leaving Loaded, Unsecured Firearm Endangering the Life or Safety of a Child (Va. Code §18.2-56.2(A))
- Allowing Child to Use Firearm Without Adult Supervision (Va. Code §18.2-56.2(B))
- Possession or Transportation of Handgun or Assault Firearm by Mi
nor (Va. Code §18.2-308.7)
- Giving a Dirk, Switchblade Knife, Bowie Knife, or Handgun to minor (Va. Code §18.2-309)
VIRGINIA WEAPON CHARGES: DEADLY WEAPON
A deadly weapon in Virginia is an instrument likely to produce great bodily harm or death from the way it is used. Knives and firearms are classic examples of a deadly weapon in Virginia. A number of crimes have increased
penalties if the offender is armed with a deadly weapon, including:
- Burglary (Va. Code §18.2-89)
- Breaking and Entering to Commit Murder, Rape, Robbery, Arson (Va. Code §18.2-90)
- Breaking and Entering to Larceny, Assault and Battery, or Other Felony (Va. Code §18.2-91)
- Breaking and Entering to Commit A Misdemeanor Other than Trespass or Assault and Battery (Va. Code §18.2-92)
For more information on burglary in Virginia under Va. Code §18.2-89, click here. For more information on breaking and entering charges in Virginia, click here. For more information on breaking and entering to commit larceny, assault and battery, or another felony, click here. For more information on breaking and entering in Virginia with the intent to commit a misdemeanor, click here.
Some Virginia crimes require use or possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon as an element of the crime. Additionally, some crimes in Virginia could be committed in one of many ways, including with a firearm or deadly weapon. These offenses include:
- Bank Burglary (Va. Code §18.2-93)
- Robbery (Va. Code §18.2-58)
- Unlawful Assembly, Carrying Firearm or Deadly Weapon (Va. Code §18.2-406)
- Riot, Carrying Firearm or Deadly Weapon (Va. Code §18.2-405)
- Unlawful Paramilitary Activity (Va. Code §18.2-433.2)
- Malicious Wounding/Bodily Injury (Va. Code §18.2-51)
- Aggravated Malicious Wounding (Va. Code §18.2-51.2)
- Malicious Wounding by Mob (Va. Code §18.2-41)
- Malicious Wounding of Law-Enforcement Officer (Va. Code §18.2-51.1)
- Carjacking (Va. Code §18.2-58.1)
For more information on what is considered a deadly weapon in Virginia, click here.