Voluntary Surrender of Firearms in Virginia
There is not a specific law at Virginia that deals with voluntary surrender of firearms, but generally speaking, there are police that offer opportunities for people to turn in guns that they no longer wish to keep. Those programs do exist in Virginia and because they are on a voluntary basis, and they are not enforced by the state. A local gun lawyer can tell you more about the voluntary surrender of firearms in Virginia.
Guns are legal to possess in Virginia, as long as a court has not revoked that right as a result of a conviction. If someone does find themselves in a situation where they are no longer permitted to own a firearm — whether it be because of a conviction or some other reason — then the police will surely facilitate their ability to turn in that gun and in so doing avoid prosecution.
Other people might not want to own a gun anymore and may simply not want to deal with the legal headaches that go along with trying to sell it out on the open market. In that case, they may choose to get rid of it, dropping it off at the nearest precinct and relinquishing their ownership.
How This Helps Avoid Charges
The only firearms that require registration in Virginia are machine guns. Before attempting to legally dispose of a firearm, it is recommended to make sure one gets it registered and then they can get rid of it. In some cases, surrendering the firearm could help a person avoid charges related to illegal possession, because if the police determine that someone is in possession of a firearm illegally but is returning said firearm, they will want to facilitate rather than discourage their return. For example, if someone owns a gun and they are convicted of a felony, the police will encourage the surrender of the weapon.
However, if the person is already charged with illegally possessing that firearm, voluntary surrender is likely out of the question, as law enforcement will almost certainly have confiscated that firearm as evidence in the case.
As a matter of course in the prosecution, that weapon will be forfeited to the authorities. The person might be able to avoid the confiscation if the authorities do not know about the possession. In terms of mitigating existing criminal charges, the odds are very small that the voluntary surrender of firearms in Virginia would be of any benefit because the person will not have that gun to surrender in the first place.
Generally speaking, the best course of action is to inform the police of the intention to turn in the gun. The officers will then be able to suggest where and how to best go about the process. The best course of action in terms of delivery is to take the firearm to the nearest state police barracks with notice. There are, from time to time, established locations outside of the barracks where they have set up an event where people can come and turn in their firearms.
It is a bad idea to simply walk into a state police barracks with a firearm and with no prior notice because they may misunderstand the intention of the carrier, which could end badly. Generally speaking, it is best to reach out to the police ahead of time, let them know the plan, and follow the advice of the police as they facilitate the delivery.
Voluntary surrender of ammunition is definitely permissible in Virginia and it would be run the same way as the voluntary surrender of firearms.
How an Attorney Might Advise Clients
Anyone who has questions about voluntary surrender of firearms in Virginia should talk to an attorney. During the discussion, they can explain why it is that they are intending to do it, and under what circumstances they still own a firearm when they are not allowed to do so.
If the person is legally in possession of a firearm and simply wants to get rid of it, then the attorney would most likely advise that they call the state police nearby and let them know that they are coming in.
If a person is in possession of a firearm and they are not allowed to do so, they should contemplate hiring an attorney to make sure that everything goes cleanly and the person is not all of the sudden trying to do the right thing and finding themselves on the wrong end of charges for illegally possessing a firearm.