Gun control and enforcement is a hot-button issue in the United States. As such, the federal government tries to limit its control over gun laws and instead leaves specific gun laws up to each individual state’s government. For example, there is no federal law that prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons.
However, each state has its own laws regarding rights, enforcement, and punishment for weapon concealment. Although the state of Virginia has slightly more lenient gun laws than some other states, it still has a black-and-white view of concealed weapons.
Classifying Concealed Weapons in Virginia
In Virginia, a concealed weapon is defined as any weapon or artifact that is hidden from plain view, or has such a deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon's true nature, and could potentially cause harm to another person. Although the assumption is that the term weapon refers to a gun or knife, Virginia’s law incorporates a broader sense of what a weapon can be.
Under the law, weapons are defined as objects that could reasonably cause harm to another person. The law specifically states that the following items can be considered weapons and, if hidden from view, can fall under the concealed weapons mandate:
- Guns: any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed to expel or propel missile-like objects by action of an explosive combustible.
- Knives: any dirk, bowie, switchblade, or ballistic knife, machete, or razors that are able to cut or impale a human body.
- Blunt objects designed to inflict harm: blackjacks, nun-chucks, fighting chains, or any instrument designed with rigid parts meant to flail and swing freely.
- Propelling tools: any instrument designed to propel or shoot objects at high velocity such as potato guns, slingshots, blow darts, etc.
- Sharp tools: any instrument with sharp edges that could potentially be used to cause harm, for example, makeshift shivs, throwing stars, needles, broken glass, etc.
If you’re found to be concealing or hiding an object which could be considered a weapon under Virginia’s weapons classification, you could be charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Depending on the severity of the offense as well as past convictions, your penalty can range from misdemeanor charges to felony charges. The following is an overview:
- First violation: you could be ticketed and charged with a class one misdemeanor, which could lead to jail time, fines, or both.
- Second violation: if you’ve previously been charged with a class one concealment misdemeanor and are found to be illegally carrying again, you could be charged with a class six felony. Conviction can lead to up to five years imprisonment, a $2,500 fine, or both.
- Third or subsequent violations: when you violate the law more than twice, you could be charged with a class five felony; if convicted you could serve up to 10 years in prison, fined up to $2,500, or both.
Being aware of different states’ gun laws can be extremely confusing. Unfortunately, this confusion could potentially land you in the back of a cop car. However, with proper representation, you don’t need to fear punishment. If you were a victim of a concealed weapon misunderstanding and need legal advice and support, contact us today. Our extensive knowledge and experience with Virginia’s laws will help you avoid jail time and keep your record clean. Don’t allow your future to be tarnished because you were unaware of the law. Call us today to get the advice you need.
Make sure your family and friends are aware of the law before it’s too late. Share this page with them via Facebook, or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about carrying concealed weapons.