Richmond Unlawful Possession of Firearm Charges

To lawfully possess a firearm in Richmond, you must be legally allowed to own and purchase a firearm.  The basic rules are that you cannot be a convicted felon, you cannot have pending domestic matters, you cannot have been determined not guilty by reason of insanity, and you cannot have had a temporary detention order issued against you. If you meet any of these qualifications and are caught in possession of a firearm you could be facing serious penalties and should consult with a Richmond gun lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the steps you can take to mitigate your offense. Call today to learn more.

Penalties For Unlawful Possession

The penalties for unlawful possession of a firearm vary. It will depend on the basis of the violation. If it’s merely a matter of a concealed weapon or something of that nature, it’s a  misdemeanor. If it is a situation where you are not legally allowed to possess a firearm, you could face a felony charge, which can result in minimum mandatory sentences.

Where This Charge May Occur

A person can be found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm if they’ve been convicted of a felony, if they’ve been deemed not guilty by reason of insanity, if they’re an undocumented or illegal alien in the state of Virginia, if there is a pending protective order against them and/or if there’s been a temporary detention order issued against them in the last several years. Those are all issues that can create that sort of charge.

Obtaining a Gun Permit in Virginia

Under Virginia law, to obtain any permit for any specified handgun and/or concealed permit, you have to file with the Virginia State Police first and to register the purchase of a firearm, you’d have to register your local gun dealer.

Virginia is an open carry state.  As long as the gun is legal and you are legally allowed to possess the firearm, you can carry it freely as long as the it is not in a location precluded under law like a place of worship, a school, and certain cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia that do not allow for the carrying of certain weapons like assault rifles.

Gun-Free Zones

Examples of gun-free zones would be schools, religious buildings or areas of worship, and/or courthouses.

The penalties for unlawful possession of a firearm in a gun-free zone can vary as well.  These charges can vary from a Class 3 misdemeanor to a felony charge depending on the circumstances of the case.

Discharging a Weapon in a Gun-Free Zone

If you discharged a firearm in a gun-free zone – for instance, in or near a school – the result is a Class 4 felony, which will result in a penitentiary sentence.

Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm

It is also unlawful to discharge a firearm in a house or dwelling or to discharge a firearm in a public area, a city street, a public park, etc. It’s unlawful to discharge a firearm on a roadway where there’s traffic. All of those areas would result in serious criminal charge carrying significant penalties.

Penalties For Unlawful Discharge

The penalties for unlawful discharge of a firearm vary depending on where it happened and in what manner the firearm was discharged. Where charged as reckless handling of a firearm it would be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, carrying up to twelve (12) months in jail. If it’s discharge of a firearm that results in injury it can charged as a Class 4 felony and carry a penitentiary sentence.