When most people hear about weapons offenses, they often immediately think about guns. Firearms aren’t the only type of weapon, and certainly not the only one that government officials regulate.
It can be helpful to understand what constitutes a weapon here in Virginia so that you don’t unintentionally violate the law.
What are classified as weapons in Virginia?
The same section of Virginia law that addresses the prohibition of firearms describes how possession of other weapons is forbidden, including throwing stars, machetes, and nunchucks. That code also spells out how it’s unlawful for individuals to have specific types of knives, especially ones with longer blades, as well as batons or blackjacks. In the latter case, the law spells out how individuals may only possess these for work purposes explicitly described in the code.
Weapons-related charges you might face in Virginia
There are a few charges that you may potentially face if you violate the weapons laws as described above.
You may face either state or federal weapons charges if you’re alleged to have possessed a gun unlawfully. Some of the circumstances under which your ability to exercise your Second Amendment right to bear arms is limited includes if you:
- Have received specific mental health diagnoses
- Have a protective order against you
- Have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence offense
- Are a felon
These gun laws prohibit you from possessing guns as well as ammunition.
Another charge you may face is an assault one. Your punishment if you’re convicted in such a case may be harsher than it otherwise might be if your alleged commission of the crime involved the use of a weapon.
It’s also possible that you may be charged with conspiracy to violate weapon law charges if you and at least one other person cooperated or schemed to violate the law (and it involved a gun or other weapon).
You should take time to learn more about weapons laws in Virginia and any restrictions on your ownership of them to ensure that you don’t end up on the wrong side of the law. If you are facing charges you may be able to provide a valid explanation that can help you avoid or mitigate the consequences.