• Avoid Possessing a Firearm in these Locations

    Avoid Possessing a Firearm in these Locations

    Virginia tightly regulates weapons, including firearms. The current state of our law is like a maze that gun owners must try to navigate, with so many laws on the books that it is very easy for even a diligent gun owner to make a mistake and get a gun charge thrown at them.

    At Del Rio Law, our Virginia gun crime attorney is prepared to defend against all gun charges, but the best step is to avoid breaking the law in the first place. Below, we highlight some of the places where possessing a gun is prohibited.

    The Courthouse

    Va. Code §18.2-283.1 makes it illegal to carry a gun or other weapon into the courthouse, so if you have been called in for jury duty or to attend a hearing, don’t carry. The law allows for the authorities to seize the weapon, and you can be punished with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Violators are looking at up to a year in jail, a fine of $2,500, or both.

    The law has some exceptions that you would expect. Police officers, sheriffs, and other law enforcement officials can carry so long as they are on duty. If you are an off-duty cop attending a family law hearing, you cannot carry your weapon.

    Houses of Worship

    Want to take your gun to church? Think again! Va. Code §18.2-283 prohibits carrying a gun, pistol, or other dangerous weapon to a place of worship. Violations are a Class 4 misdemeanor, punishable by a $250 fine.

    Interestingly, the law only criminalizes carrying in a house of worship if done “without good and sufficient reason.” This might mean that carrying for personal protection is acceptable. However, the law is unsettled, and someone charged with this offense should obtain legal help.

    The Airport

    Many people want to take their gun with them when they travel. This isn’t entirely unreasonable, especially if you are visiting a state with reciprocal gun rights. However, travelers must be aware that Va. Code §18.2-287.01 makes it illegal to possess or transport a gun or other weapon into an airport terminal. Law enforcement can seize your weapon, and you can be punished with a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    However, the law does not apply to those who check their firearm or weapon with their luggage and then retrieve it from baggage claim. This means that if you want to travel, you must check your gun with your bags.

    School Property

    School shootings always make the headlines, regardless of where they occur. Many people know the names of Sandy Hook and Columbine because of the tragic school shootings that took place there. Virginia has gotten tough on bringing a firearm or other weapon onto school property. This law applies to all schools, from preschool up to high school, as well as public and private schools. Va. Code §18.2-308.1 makes this crime a Class 6 felony.

    There is a key limitation, however. The law only prohibits “knowingly” possessing a firearm on school property. This means that the person must know that they are carrying the weapon. If you negligently forgot to remove it, then you technically have not broken the law.

    Certain Loaded Weapons in Public

    Va. Code §18.2-287.4 is a complex law that gun owners need to know. It prohibits carrying certain loaded weapons in public in certain counties and cities, including Richmond:

    • Semi-automatic center-fire pistol or rifle
    • Shotgun with magazines that hold more than 7 rounds

    This is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    Contact a Virginia Gun Crime Lawyer Today

    Del Rio Law, PLLC vigorously protects the rights of gun owners. Our state’s laws are in flux, but our attorneys stay abreast of the latest changes and can use the law to your advantage. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.