Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
7/9/2020

Article 4. Dangerous Use of Firearms or Other Weapons.

§ 18.2-279. Discharging firearms or missiles within or at building or dwelling house; penalty.

If any person maliciously discharges a firearm within any building when occupied by one or more persons in such a manner as to endanger the life or lives of such person or persons, or maliciously shoots at, or maliciously throws any missile at or against any dwelling house or other building when occupied by one or more persons, whereby the life or lives of any such person or persons may be put in peril, the person so offending is guilty of a Class 4 felony. In the event of the death of any person, resulting from such malicious shooting or throwing, the person so offending is guilty of murder in the second degree. However, if the homicide is willful, deliberate and premeditated, he is guilty of murder in the first degree.

If any such act be done unlawfully, but not maliciously, the person so offending is guilty of a Class 6 felony; and, in the event of the death of any person resulting from such unlawful shooting or throwing, the person so offending is guilty of involuntary manslaughter. If any person willfully discharges a firearm within or shoots at any school building whether occupied or not, he is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Code 1950, §§ 18.1-66, 18.1-152; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1992, c. 738; 2005, c. 143.

§ 18.2-280. Willfully discharging firearms in public places.

A. If any person willfully discharges or causes to be discharged any firearm in any street in a city or town, or in any place of public business or place of public gathering, and such conduct results in bodily injury to another person, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. If such conduct does not result in bodily injury to another person, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. If any person willfully discharges or causes to be discharged any firearm upon the buildings and grounds of any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony, unless he is engaged in a program or curriculum sponsored by or conducted with permission of a public, private or religious school.

C. If any person willfully discharges or causes to be discharged any firearm upon any public property within 1,000 feet of the property line of any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school property he shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony, unless he is engaged in lawful hunting.

D. This section shall not apply to any law-enforcement officer in the performance of his official duties nor to any other person whose said willful act is otherwise justifiable or excusable at law in the protection of his life or property, or is otherwise specifically authorized by law.

E. Nothing in this statute shall preclude the Commonwealth from electing to prosecute under any other applicable provision of law instead of this section.

Code 1950, § 18.1-69; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1992, c. 735; 1999, c. 996; 2001, c. 712; 2005, c. 928.

§ 18.2-281. Setting spring gun or other deadly weapon.

It shall be unlawful for any person to set or fix in any manner any firearm or other deadly weapon so that it may be discharged or activated by a person coming in contact therewith or with any string, wire, spring, or any other contrivance attached thereto or designed to activate such weapon remotely. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Code 1950, § 18.1-69.1; 1966, c. 422; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-282. Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas operated weapon or object similar in appearance; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense. Persons violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

B. Any police officer in the performance of his duty, in making an arrest under the provisions of this section, shall not be civilly liable in damages for injuries or death resulting to the person being arrested if he had reason to believe that the person being arrested was pointing, holding, or brandishing such firearm or air or gas operated weapon, or object that was similar in appearance, with intent to induce fear in the mind of another.

C. For purposes of this section, the word "firearm" means any weapon that will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel single or multiple projectiles by the action of an explosion of a combustible material. The word "ammunition," as used herein, shall mean a cartridge, pellet, ball, missile or projectile adapted for use in a firearm.

Code 1950, § 18.1-69.2; 1968, c. 513; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1990, cc. 588, 599; 1992, c. 735; 2003, c. 976; 2005, c. 928.

§ 18.2-282.1. Brandishing a machete or other bladed weapon with intent to intimidate; penalty.

It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold, or brandish a machete or any weapon, with an exposed blade 12 inches or longer, with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons and in a manner that reasonably demonstrates that intent. This section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense. A person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private, or religious elementary, middle, or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

2006, cc. 844, 895.

§ 18.2-283. Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship.

If any person carry any gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 18.1-241; 1960, c. 358; 1962, c. 411; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-283.1. Carrying weapon into courthouse.

It is unlawful for any person to possess in or transport into any courthouse in this Commonwealth any (i) gun or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile or projectile of any kind; (ii) frame, receiver, muffler, silencer, missile, projectile, or ammunition designed for use with a dangerous weapon; or (iii) other dangerous weapon, including explosives, stun weapons as defined in § 18.2-308.1, and those weapons specified in subsection A of § 18.2-308. Any such weapon shall be subject to seizure by a law-enforcement officer. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any police officer, sheriff, law-enforcement agent or official, conservation police officer, conservator of the peace, magistrate, court officer, judge, city or county treasurer, or commissioner or deputy commissioner of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission while in the conduct of such person's official duties.

1988, c. 615; 2004, c. 995; 2007, cc. 87, 519; 2012, c. 295; 2017, c. 761.

§ 18.2-284. Selling or giving toy firearms.

No person shall sell, barter, exchange, furnish, or dispose of by purchase, gift or in any other manner any toy gun, pistol, rifle or other toy firearm, if the same shall, by action of an explosion of a combustible material, discharge blank or ball charges. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Each sale of any of the articles hereinbefore specified to any person shall constitute a separate offense.

Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing the sale of what are commonly known as cap pistols.

Code 1950, § 18.1-347; 1960, c. 348; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 2003, c. 976.

§ 18.2-285. Hunting with firearms while under influence of intoxicant or narcotic drug; penalty.

It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt wildlife with a firearm, bow and arrow, slingbow, arrowgun, or crossbow in the Commonwealth while he is (i) under the influence of alcohol; (ii) under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree that impairs his ability to hunt with a firearm, bow and arrow, slingbow, arrowgun, or crossbow safely; or (iii) under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or drugs to a degree that impairs his ability to hunt with a firearm, bow and arrow, slingbow, arrowgun, or crossbow safely. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Conservation police officers, sheriffs, and all other law-enforcement officers shall enforce the provisions of this section.

Code 1950, § 29-140.1; 1952, c. 96; 1962, c. 469; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1999, c. 543; 2005, c. 507; 2017, c. 530; 2018, cc. 557, 558.

§ 18.2-286. Shooting in or across road or in street.

If any person discharges a firearm, crossbow, slingbow, arrowgun, or bow and arrow in or across any road, or within the right-of-way thereof, or in a street of any city or town, he shall, for each offense, be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to firing ranges or shooting matches maintained, and supervised or approved, by law-enforcement officers and military personnel in performance of their lawful duties.

Code 1950, § 33.1-349; 1970, c. 322; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1993, c. 322; 1994, c. 18; 2017, c. 530; 2018, cc. 557, 558.

§ 18.2-286.1. Shooting from vehicles so as to endanger persons; penalty.

Any person who, while in or on a motor vehicle, intentionally discharges a firearm so as to create the risk of injury or death to another person or thereby cause another person to have a reasonable apprehension of injury or death shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony. Nothing in this section shall apply to a law-enforcement officer in the performance of his duties.

1990, c. 951.

§ 18.2-287. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, c. 462.

§ 18.2-287.01. Carrying weapon in air carrier airport terminal.

It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or transport into any air carrier airport terminal in the Commonwealth any (i) gun or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile or projectile of any kind, (ii) frame, receiver, muffler, silencer, missile, projectile or ammunition designed for use with a dangerous weapon, and (iii) any other dangerous weapon, including explosives, stun weapons as defined in § 18.2-308.1, and those weapons specified in subsection A of § 18.2-308. Any such weapon shall be subject to seizure by a law-enforcement officer. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any weapon possessed or transported in violation of this section shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth and disposed of as provided in § 19.2-386.28.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any police officer, sheriff, law-enforcement agent or official, conservation police officer, conservator of the peace employed by the air carrier airport, or retired law-enforcement officer qualified pursuant to subsection C of § 18.2-308.016, nor shall the provisions of this section apply to any passenger of an airline who, to the extent otherwise permitted by law, transports a lawful firearm, weapon, or ammunition into or out of an air carrier airport terminal for the sole purposes, respectively, of (i) presenting such firearm, weapon, or ammunition to U.S. Customs agents in advance of an international flight, in order to comply with federal law, (ii) checking such firearm, weapon, or ammunition with his luggage, or (iii) retrieving such firearm, weapon, or ammunition from the baggage claim area.

Any other statute, rule, regulation, or ordinance specifically addressing the possession or transportation of weapons in any airport in the Commonwealth shall be invalid, and this section shall control.

2004, c. 894; 2007, cc. 87, 519; 2013, c. 746; 2016, c. 257.

§ 18.2-287.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, c. 462.

§ 18.2-287.2. Wearing of body armor while committing a crime; penalty.

Any person who, while committing a crime of violence as defined in § 18.2-288 (2) or a felony violation of § 18.2-248 or subdivision (a) 2 or 3 of § 18.2-248.1, has in his possession a firearm or knife and is wearing body armor designed to diminish the effect of the impact of a bullet or projectile shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

1990, c. 936; 1997, c. 311.

§ 18.2-287.3. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1993, cc. 467, 494.

§ 18.2-287.4. Carrying loaded firearms in public areas prohibited; penalty.

It shall be unlawful for any person to carry a loaded (a) semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine that will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock or (b) shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered on or about his person on any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or in any public park or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public in the Cities of Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Falls Church, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, or Virginia Beach or in the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Henrico, Loudoun, or Prince William.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to law-enforcement officers, licensed security guards, military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, or any person having a valid concealed handgun permit or to any person actually engaged in lawful hunting or lawful recreational shooting activities at an established shooting range or shooting contest. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The exemptions set forth in §§ 18.2-308 and 18.2-308.016 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section.

1991, c. 570; 1992, c. 790; 2003, c. 976; 2004, c. 995; 2005, c. 160; 2007, c. 813; 2016, c. 257.

§ 18.2-287.5. Reporting lost or stolen firearms; civil penalty.

A. If a firearm is lost or stolen from a person who lawfully possessed it, then such person shall report the loss or theft to any local law-enforcement agency or the Department of State Police within 48 hours after such person discovers the loss or theft or is informed by a person with personal knowledge of the loss or theft. The law-enforcement agency shall enter such report information into the National Crime Information Center maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the loss or theft of an antique firearm as defined in § 18.2-308.2:2.

B. A violation of this section is punishable by a civil penalty of not more than $250. The attorney for the county, city, or town in which an alleged violation of this section has occurred is authorized to enforce the provisions of this section and may bring an action to recover the civil penalty, which shall be paid into the local treasury.

C. No person who, in good faith, reports a lost or stolen firearm shall be held criminally or civilly liable for any damages from acts or omissions resulting from the loss or theft. This subsection shall not apply to any person who makes a report in violation of § 18.2-461.

2020, c. 743.

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