Your right to carry firearms in Virginia could be impacted by certain kinds of criminal charges or felony convictions. Criminal defense attorney Rebecca Wade explains the legal consequences of these offenses as they relate to gun laws in Virginia.
“Under Virginia law, the only thing that’s really going to prohibit you from possessing a firearm are felony convictions,” says Wade. “However, under federal law, there are many more types of charges that could impact your gun rights. For example, if you are convicted of crimes of domestic violence under federal law, you will lose your right to possess a firearm. Additionally, under federal law, you can’t own a gun if you are a habitual user of narcotics.”
While it’s true that in Virginia you can possess a firearm so long as you have not been convicted of a felony, not everyone has the right to carry a firearm concealed. Wade explains that there are a number of charges that can affect your ability to acquire a concealed carry permit, even if those charges did not involve a firearm. That includes driving under the influence, assault and drug offenses — “even federal misdemeanor convictions can result in you losing the right to possess a firearm under federal law,” says Wade.
“When it comes to these types of offenses, it’s really a decision based on judicial discretion,” explains Wade. “Do you have a record that makes the judge think that you possibly will not be responsible in carrying your weapon concealed? It doesn’t matter if the conviction had nothing to do with a firearm. Just having that mark on your record, you could see an application for a concealed carry permit either denied or revoked.”
If your right to possess and carry firearms is important to you and you’re charged with any type of criminal offense, it’s important to ask an experienced attorney at the outset how those charges will affect your gun rights in Virginia.