Fairfax Gun Attorney

Gun laws in Virginia apply to a number of different situations, and things that are legal for one person may not be legal for another. Because there are discrepancies based on criminal records, certifications, and things of this nature, the laws can grow rather complex. By contacting a Fairfax gun lawyer, you can fight the charges against you.

Two main sections, Section 18.2-308 and Section 18.2-311, have been established to control the carrying and ownership of guns and related weapons. These sections are then broken into various subsections for more specific situations.

If you have been accused of breaking any of the different subsections of Section 18.2-308 and Section 18.2-311, it is important to contact a Fairfax defense lawyer to help you sort through the details that concern your case. A lawyer will know the ways that these laws have been interpreted in the past, and will be able to draw from precedent that has been set regarding what types of penalties should be imposed.

It should first be noted that there are stark differences between weapons used for hunting, target shooting, and related situations and weapons used for personal protection. It is lawful to carry a hunting weapon while on your personal property or state game land without a permit. It is also lawful to transfer said weapon in your vehicle as long as it is unloaded and the ammunition is stored in a different compartment than the weapon itself. The standard provisions are in place for carrying this type of weapon in government buildings, public spaces, and the like.

Carrying Concealed Weapons in Fairfax

A gun lawyer in Fairfax will tell you that most gun violations have to do with concealed weapons and handguns. Section 18.2-308 states that any weapon that is concealed from public view, including a pistol, a revolver, or any type of handgun, could cause the carrier to be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense. If the offense occurs a second time, a Class 6 felony will be used. If it happens a third time, the crime warrants a Class 5 felony.

The punishments vary with the crimes, and they are different depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. A misdemeanor first offense may result in a short jail term and fines, while the felony charges for repeated offenses will result in longer incarceration terms. Furthermore, a person with a felony is not able to get a permit to carry a handgun in the future. This right is forfeited because of the prior indication that the person will disregard applicable laws. A permit is not required under Virginia law to purchase any type of gun, whether a handgun, a shotgun, or a rifle.

Exceptions for Carrying

There are some exceptions to these carrying laws. Under Section 15.2-915, for instance, an individual’s right to carry or store a gun in a locked vehicle is protected. Individuals are also allowed to have such weapons in their own homes, in businesses that they own, or while traveling to or from a shooting range. Collectors and those who participate in the lawful trade of weapons are also allowed to carry them while moving between their homes and places of business, or while leaving or attending gun shows and other permitted sales events.

You may still need a Fairfax gun lawyer to go to court with you if you are carrying a concealed weapon with the appropriate permit to ensure your rights are protected. Anyone who does not have a criminal record can apply for this permit. Once you apply, you will need to take a mandatory class unless you already have the required training that is recognized by Virginia. This class will cover gun safety as well as laws and regulations. It will also feature shooting exercises so that you can become familiar with the handgun of your choice. You can take this class with your own handgun, though you cannot carry it until the permit has been issued, or you can rent a gun from the range and then purchase your own later. You cannot legally carry the concealed weapon until you have completed the class and been given the official permit, which you should then carry with the permit as proof for law enforcement officers. Even with this permit, there are places that you cannot carry the gun, such as government buildings and some places of employment.

Law Enforcement Officers

Law officers are allowed to carry weapons both on and off duty. This right is extended under part 7 of subsection B, which is contained within Section18.2-308, to law officers who are retired from the agency. Furthermore, those who are retired from similar government agencies, such as the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and branches of the armed forces are also able to carry as they wish. Section 23-232 gives the right to carry a weapon to some appointed campus police officers at colleges and universities as well.

Exotic Guns in Fairfax

As a Virginia lawyer will confirm, it is lawful to own some exotic weapons, though you may not be able to carry them in the same fashion that you can carry other weapons. For example, possession of a pair of brass knuckles, is restricted under Section 18.2-311. This section restricts the carrying, selling, distributing, and bartering of such weapons. Even with a permit for concealed carry, though, you cannot carry brass knuckles. There are no permits for them. Anyone found to be breaking these laws will be charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Section 18.2-311.1 applies to any guns that have been altered from their original form and guns that have been made at home. No person can intentionally alter, change or destroy the maker, model, serial number or other identification of a firearm.  Anyone convicted of this offense shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanorA gun lawyer in Virginia should be contacted if you are charged with breaking any gun law to help defend you rights.

Fairfax Gun Statistics

In 2011, there were 208 murders that involved guns in Virginia. This was a decline of 17 percent from the previous year and the overall drop of 3 percent in the United States. When looked at as a percentage of all murders, firearm murders accounted for 69 percent, while the national percentage was 68 percent. The firearm murder rate for Virginia is 2.58 per 100,000 people. Using this same scale of 100,000 people, the firearm robbery rate was 35.4 and the firearm assault rate was 21.35. The national rates were 39.25 and 43.77, respectively, showing that Virginia is among the safer states as far as gun violence is concerned.

It is important to ask a Fairfax County lawyer about recent changes to the law. For example, a law was passed in 2010 that made it legal for those with permits to carry concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that served alcohol, something that was previously illegal under state law. The following year, crimes involving guns that occurred in these places actually fell by as much as 5.2 percent. Furthermore, an analysis of the data showed that a small percentage of the incidents that did occur actually involved those who had the permits. Most of the incidents were still happening to those carrying illegally, those who would have been doing so with or without the new law.

Contact a Fairfax Gun Lawyer Today

If you are being charged with crimes that relate to Section 18.2-308, Section 18.2-311, Section 18.2-279, or any similar sections of the law, assistance from a Fairfax firearms attorney is needed. Before the case begins, our lawyers can help you determine your defense and what penalties you could be seeing at the end of the case. They can also assist you in understanding what laws pertain to your case, how those laws should be interpreted, and what violations, if any, were committed. If you were carrying in a legal fashion or with a permit, hire a Fairfax gun lawyer to make sure that the charges are defended.