Every state in the country maintains laws about the possession and carrying of guns. While some jurisdictions are more liberal with their restrictions, others take a more prohibitive approach, limiting the ability to own and carry guns within state borders. With so much variation, it can prove difficult to accurately understand the specifics of the state’s laws. To help, here are some frequently asked questions about Virginia’s gun laws:
Does Virginia require the registration of firearms?
The only firearm that requires registration is a machine gun. Under Virginia law, any purchaser of a machine gun must register it with the Department of State Police within 24 hours of the purchase. The owner will receive a certificate of registration. Any modifications of ownership, including address changes or sale of the weapon must be reported.
Can a firearm owner “open carry” in Virginia?
Except in locations specified by statute, it is lawful to open carry a firearm within the state of Virginia. Excepted locations include:
o Places of religious worship without sufficient reason
o School property, school sponsored event or school bus
Does Virginia allow for the concealed carrying of a handgun?
Virginia law prohibits the carrying of a concealed weapon without a concealed weapons permit from the state. To obtain a permit, an individual must be at 21 years of age and successfully complete a gun training course. He or she then submits an application to the clerk of courts. Certain criminal convictions can result in denial of the application. Any person carrying a concealed gun must maintain the permit on their person at all times. Additionally, the permit does not allow for the carrying of a gun in locations prohibited by law.
Is the possession of gun replicas restricted under Virginia law?
It is legal to possess a firearm replica within the state of Virginia. If the gun has no ability to fire ammunition and does not fall under the category of a “destructive device”, there is no restriction on the purchase or carry. However, replica weapons are still restricted from certain locations and their use in the commission of a crime may result in increased charges or penalties.
Is it legal to possess a “sawed-off” shotgun or rifle in Virginia?
With limited exceptions, the possession of a “sawed-off” shotgun or rifle is a Class 4 felony in Virginia. In addition, if the weapon is used in the perpetration of a violent crime, it is classified as a Class 2 felony. Exceptions to the possession restriction include:
o Scientific purposes
o Possession of a non-workable shotgun for ornament or keepsake
o Possession in compliance with federal law
If you are facing gun charges in Virginia, call the attorneys of Shannon & Associates for a consultation. With knowledge and experience, these lawyers can provide you with an aggressive defense. Contact the office at (757) 228-5529.