Transporting Guns in Virginia
In Virginia, you may be charged for improperly transporting your firearms. As a result, it is important that you understand the following laws in order to ensure that you do not face unlawful transportation charges and the associated penalties. To learn more or discuss your case if you have already been charged, call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia gun lawyer today.
Reasons For Transporting a Firearm
There are lots of reasons why you may choose to transport your firearms within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Some of these reasons may include:
- Going to the shooting range to work on your accuracy or to try out new firearms
- Going hunting
- Travelling and carrying your firearms for self-protection
- Going to a gun show
- Or moving
All these are very valid reasons and there are certainly even more reasons for why someone would transport a firearm in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Steps Necessary To Legally Transport a Gun in VA
If you are legally transporting a firearm in the Commonwealth of Virginia you need to know certain things. First, you must check the Virginia State Police website for how and when to lawfully transport a firearm in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is by far the best and most complete resource for firearms transportation.
In an abridged summary of some of the best points on the Virginia State Police website, if transporting by car you want to secure the firearm, especially if you do not have a concealed-carry permit. Secure in this case means the firearm must be broken down, with the magazine removed from the firearm, making sure that there is not a round in the firearm and certainly not a round in the chamber, and that the magazine and ammunition are stored separately from the firearm. The components can be stored in the same container, preferably a locked case, but any secured container away from arms reach is within the bounds of the Code.
For a personal firearm safe harbor most attorneys would recommend storing the firearms, which have been broken down and detached from their ammunition, in a locked case in the trunk, separate from the ammunition.
What Must a Person Do If They Do Not Have a Compartment Separate From The Driver’s Compartment?
If you do not have a separate compartment from the driver’s compartment, for example an SUV, van, or something of that nature, then it is recommended you secure the firearm to the best of your ability. This may mean locking it in a glove box, locking rear box, or other secure methods which keep it at more than just a reach-and-grab distance.
When Transporting a Gun is Illegal
Depending on your status, transporting a firearm is unlawful when it is in violation of the concealed-carry statute. Some of the potential violations include:
- If you do not have permission to carry a concealed weapon but you are doing so in your vehicle anyway
- If your weapon is not secured within the exceptions of the concealed-carry statute
- If you are carrying an illegal weapon such as an assault weapon or assault shotgun
- Or when you are a person who is not permitted to possess a weapon at all
Unlawful Transportation Penalties
The penalties for unlawful transportation of a firearm depend on the nature of the offense and the specific background of the person accused of committing the offense. More details can be found at Virginia Code Section 18.2-308 and sequential code sections.
For example, many unlawful transportation charges may be only class 1 misdemeanors, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2500 fine. However, if you are a convicted violent felon and commit the same offense, you may be facing a five year mandatory minimum period of incarceration in addition to other penalties.