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Understanding Virginia Gun Laws 


An understanding of Virginia gun laws is important to not only avoid violating them but also to defend your rights when charged with a weapons offense. Laws regarding gun possession and discharge can be complex, David Cardon is a seasoned criminal defense attorney in Virginia Beach, VA, who can help familiarize you with relevant law and build a strong defense. His years of courtroom experience have provided him with a thorough understanding of these laws as well as the best tactics to minimize the effects these charges will have on your life. 

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Knowing the laws surrounding firearms can help you defend your rights if you face criminal charges.

Defining a Firearm

The Virginia Code defines a firearm as “any weapon in which ammunition may be used or discharged by explosion or pneumatic pressure.” Ammunition is defined as “cartridge, pellet, ball, missile, or projectile adapted for us in a firearm.” (Va. Code §18.2-282 (C)) Based on these definitions, I believe, under Virginia law, the device you described would be considered a firearm because it (a) is powered by pressure, and (b) uses a projectile.

Discharge of a Firearm

There are a number of Virginia Beach city laws and the Virginia state laws dealing specifically with firearms.

Discharge in Virginia Beach

The code for the city of Virginia Beach states it is unlawful for a person to discharge any firearm, spring-propelled rifle or pistol or air propelled rifle or pistol from or across any land or water within a specific boundary within the city. This boundary extends north or west of the trace line beginning at the intersection of North Landing Road and the Chesapeake-Virginia Beach city boundary line, northward along North Landing Road to Indian River Road, eastwardly along Indian River Road to New Bridge Road, northeastwardly along New Bridge Road to Sandbridge Road; eastwardly along Sandbridge Road to its intersection with the Atlantic Ocean, or across any land north of False Cape State Park and east of Shipps Bay and Point Creek. (Va. Beach City Code § 38-2)

Discharge in or at a Building within Virginia 

Under the state code, it is illegal to discharge firearms or missiles within or at buildings or dwelling houses. If you maliciously discharge a firearm within or at any building when the building is occupied by one or more persons in such a manner as to endanger the life or lives of such persons, you are guilty of a Class 4 felony. If done unlawfully, but not maliciously, you are guilty of a Class 6 felony. If the building is a school, whether or not occupied, you are guilty of a Class 4 felony. (Va. Code § 18.2-279)

Discharge in Public within Virginia

If you willfully discharge any firearm in any street in a city or town, or in any place of public business or public gathering, and you do not injure another person, you are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If your conduct results in bodily injury to someone else, you are guilty of a Class 6 felony. If you discharge the firearm near or on a school, public or private, you are guilty of a Class 4 felony. (Va. Code § 18.2-280)

Sale, Purchase, or Disposal of Firearms

It is against the law to sell, barter, exchange, furnish, or dispose of by purchase, gift, or in any other manner any toy gun, pistol, rifle, or other toy firearm, if the toy discharges blanks or ball charges by means of powder or other explosive. If you violate this law, you are guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. (Va. Code § 18.2-284)

Dave Cardon wants his clients to be included in every step of the process so that they can make informed decisions and receive the best legal counsel available.

Are There Any Exceptions to These Laws? 

The laws above do not apply to law enforcement officers in the performance of his or her official duties. They also do not apply if you are lawfully hunting or conducting a program sponsored by or conducted with permission of the school, or while on an established shooting range. (Va. Code § 18.2-280 (C))

Do Virginia Gun Laws Differ for Minors? 

If you are under the age of fifteen, it is illegal for you to possess or use any firearm, shotgun, spring or air propelled rifle or pistol unless under the immediate supervision of an adult. If you violate this Virginia Beach code section, you are guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. (Va. Beach City Code § 38-4)

Educating & Defending Clients

For David Cardon, educating his clients is an important part of his services. He wants his clients to be included in every step of the process so that they can make informed decisions and receive the best legal counsel available. If you have recently been arrested for a firearms or weapons offense, contact us online or by phone today at (757) 306-9060 so he can determine if you have violated any Virgina firearm laws and provide effective guidance.

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At the heart of this practice, we are improving people's lives everyday. My clients often have their job, their assets, and their quality of life residing on these cases, which is why success is not just important, but absolutely crucial.

David A. Cardon PC

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