Anyone convicted of a felony is prohibited from possessing a firearm in Virginia. Possession of a firearm by a felon in Virginia is a separate felony that could be punished with mandatory minimum prison time under Va. Code §18.2-308.2. This statute also criminalizes possession of ammunition, stun weapons, explosives, or concealed weapons in Virginia by a convicted felon.
Va. Code §18.2-308.2 applies to anyone convicted of a felony, anyone who was adjudicated delinquent for a violent crime he committed at the age of 14 or older, or anyone under the age of 29 who was adjudicated delinquent for a crime that would have been a felony if committed by an adult when he was over the age of 14 at the time of the offense.
Proof of Possession of A Firearm By A Felon in Virginia
To convict an offender of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charge in Virginia under Va. §18.2-308.2 , the Commonwealth must prove that the offender knowingly and intentionally possessed the firearm. This means that he knew what the weapon was and it’s location. Possession can be actual or constructive.
The Commonwealth must also prove that the weapon was in fact one of the items prohibited by the statute to convict an offender of possession of a firearm by a felon in Virginia. These include firearms, ammunition for a firearm, stun weapons, and explosive material, and concealed weapons.
- Firearm: A firearm is an instrument that was designed or intended to expel a projectile by means of an explosion. It does not need to be operable.
- Ammunition for A Firearm: Ammunition for a firearm is defined in Va. Code §18.2-308.2 as the combination of a cartridge, projectile, primer, or propellant designed for use in a firearm other than an antique firearm.
- Stun Weapon: A stun weapon is defined in Va. Code §18.2-308.1 as a device that emits a momentary or pulsed output, which is electrical, audible, optical or electromagnetic in nature and which is designed to temporarily incapacitate a person.
- Explosive Material: Explosive material is defined in Va. Code §18.2-308.2 as any chemical compound mixture, or device, the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion; the term includes, but is not limited to, dynamite and other high explosives, black powder, pellet powder, smokeless gun powder, detonators, blasting caps and detonating cord.
- Concealed Weapons: A weapon is concealed if it is carried on or about the person and hidden from common observation. The weapons prohibited from being concealed on or about the person are listed in Va. Code §18.2-308 and include pistols, revolvers, firearms, dirks, bowie knives, switchblade knives, ballistic knives, machetes, razors, slingshots, brass knuckles, nun chucks, throwing stars and other weapons of like kind. For more information on concealed weapons charges in Virginia, click here.
There are exceptions to this statute for members of the Armed Forces or the National Guard, law-enforcement officers in performance of their duties, a convicted felon who has been pardoned or had his political disabilities removed, a convicted felon who had his right to possess a firearm restored, and any person adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile who served at least two years in the armed forces and received an honorable discharge. Additionally, there is an exception allowing felons to possess stun weapons in their homes or immediately outside of their homes.
Penalty for Possession of A Firearm by A Felon in Virginia
Possession of a firearm by a felon in Virginia is a Class 6 felony. It is punished with 1-5 years in prison or up to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $2500. However, possession of a firearm by a felon in Virginia is punished with a mandatory minimum, consecutive sentence of 2 years in prison if he was convicted of a non-violent felony within the past 10 years. If the offender was previously convicted for a violent felony, he will be punished with a mandatory minimum, consecutive sentence of 5 years in prison.