Hampton Gun Lawyer

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the rights of all citizen to bear arms. However, the country’s varying states have all taken differing views on how far this right extends. While Virginia maintains some of the country’s most permissive firearm laws, there are still certain weapons that are illegal to possess. Still, other situations require a possessor of a firearm to obtain a permit. Finally, simply bringing a firearm into certain places is illegal regardless of the type of weapon or a person’s status as a legal carrier.

The presence of a firearm at a scene of a crime is also an aggravating factor. A charge, such as an assault, could become a serious felony if a firearm aided in the commission of that alleged offense. Therefore, if you were charged with an offense that includes the use of a firearm, it might be beneficial to speak with a determined criminal attorney right away. A Hampton gun lawyer could help to explain your rights and discuss how to best proceed.

The Right to Bear Arms in Virginia

Virginia assumes that most people have the right to purchase and own a firearm. However, certain classes of firearms are per se illegal. These include sawed-off shotguns or rifles kept in firing condition. According to VA Code §18.2-300, merely possessing these weapons is a class IV felony. If that weapon is used in the commission of a crime, however, this offense is elevated to a class II felony.

Virginia is an open carry state, meaning that, with the exceptions of certain locations, any citizen may carry a firearm in the open. However, state law does require a resident to obtain a permit if they wish to use a concealed carry. The law generally assumes that a person will receive this permit, except for convicted felons, people subject to protection orders, and drug-dependent individuals. A violation of this law is a Class I misdemeanor, which could result in up to one year in jail.

Furthermore, simply bringing a gun into a restricted area is considered a crime, regardless of a person’s otherwise rightful possession. These locations include:

  • Churches or other places of worship
  • Courthouses
  • Airport terminals

The nuances of these state laws can be difficult to understand, especially for someone without comprehensive knowledge of the law. A skilled gun attorney could help clients to examine their rights under state law and determine how to proceed after an infraction.

Firearms as an Aggravating Factor

While Virginia does allow most people to obtain firearms and even to carry them in public, the law is very harsh when considering accused defendants who use a gun to commit a crime. Something as simple as a dispute between two people could become a much more serious offense if a defendant merely points a gun at their adversary. According to VA Code §18.2-282, a conviction could result in up to one year in jail.

Simply firing a gun in public is also a serious offense. Specifically, VA Code §18.2-280 state that it is a misdemeanor to willfully fire a gun in a city, town, or any public gathering. This charge becomes a felony if another person is harmed by the discharge.

Furthermore, the intentional use of a firearm to harm another person is a class III felony. Under VA Code §18.2-51, this applies to any situation where a person fires a gun with the intent of hitting another person, and could also apply if a person intends to cause harm to another but misses. A Hampton attorney could investigate the specifics of a gun charge and determine the severity of any potential penalties.

How a Hampton Gun Attorney Might Help

Although Virginia makes it relatively easy for citizens to obtain and legally carry firearms, the penalties for any person who violates these laws are strict. Certain infractions can result in misdemeanors, while more serious charges—such as the use of a firearm during a crime—can be much more serious.

A Hampton gun lawyer may be able to help if you are facing criminal accusations involving the use of a firearm. A skilled attorney could explain your legal rights and work to ensure that you have the best defense available under the circumstances. Contact a legal professional today to discuss your case.