The concept in the law is called brandishing. If you put someone in reasonable fear that you are going to use a weapon against them, without just cause, the crime is called brandishing. You can be convicted of it and it is found in Virginia Code 18.2-282. It is a Class I misdemeanor and if you do make someone afraid, it is a Class VI felony, so that is not you using it, that is just you, threatening to use it. If you discharge a gun, it is even a worse crime. If you show it, you pull it out or you point it, even if the gun cannot be fired, even if it is a chunk of plastic that looks like a gun, then you brandished it that is still brandishing.
The Penalties For Bringing A Gun Into A Prohibited Area
If a person brings a weapon in, whether they bring it in concealed or they bring it in open and obvious, it is typically a Class I misdemeanor. This means that a person could get up to a year in jail, a $2500 fine. It is all assuming they did not try to use that weapon. If they tried to use it, it could be construed as brandishing. There are other circumstances where it could become a felony .For example, if you committed a crime and you used a weapon in the commission of the crime, then that would be a felony that would be much more severe. But typically it is a Class I misdemeanor and in most of those cases, the government would confiscate your weapon.
I have seen cases where a courthouse security caught someone coming into a courthouse that had inadvertently had ammunition, not a weapon, just ammunition. They considered the ammunition to be tantamount to bringing in a weapon. I did not agree with the finding, but because they had a clip that could be used in a semi-automatic weapon, they confiscated that and they were considering charging a Class I misdemeanor. Ultimately, it would have come down to a courthouse rule, not a state law that they would have broken. Or constituted as they would have been carrying a weapon into a forbidden place.
What Determines Whether a Weapon is Concealed or Displayed Publicly?
If a gun is hidden from view, it is concealed, if you put it in your hand but under your coat, it is considered concealed. If you put it so that only the butt of the gun, or the handle of the gun is exposed but you cannot really see the gun or exactly what it is, then that is considered concealed. There are cases which make the definition a fine point, that is, that if you cannot make out what the thing is, then it is concealed.
Anytime you put it in one of those hidden holsters, it is considered concealed. If you put it on a holster on your hip, it is open and obvious. If you put it inside your shirt or inside the back of your pants, covered over with your shirt, it is considered concealed, even if there is a bulge in your clothing to show where the gun is. It has to be something that they can see it for it to be open and obvious.
Possible Defense For Violation Of Concealed Carry Laws
If the person tries to use their weapon, then there are lots of defenses to that one because people who carry guns assert their rights to carry guns. Those people and the gun laws are under attack right now by states and the federal government. If a person is trying to defend themselves by using their gun when they think it is appropriate, even though they were a victim, all of a sudden they are now a defendant and so there are lots of ways to protect someone but it definitely involves going to court. For example, if you are being harassed, your family is being harassed or someone is threatening to put a bat through your windshield, and you pull out your gun to protect yourself and to protect your property.
The fact that you pulled it out and pointed it makes you ready to defend yourself. It also makes you a possible target for the prosecution. The police may want to arrest you just because you pulled out your gun. I am not quite sure why the police do not welcome citizens using their weapons to protect themselves but they seem to be more on the attack whenever someone uses a gun to protect themselves. A good look at the facts to determine what was the real threat. Were you using appropriate force to protect yourself and your property and if so, you were legally authorized to pull that gun. That is definitely a legal defense, which is probably the most common one when it comes to someone using their gun to protect themselves.
A person in the State of Virginia and in most states has the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves. They also have the right to use reasonable force to defend someone else. Under Virginia law, they have the right to defend their property so long as they have used reasonable force. It would not mean that if someone is on your property at your mailbox that you can shoot them. That is not reasonable force, but if someone is bashing in your car and you pull your weapon, even use your weapon, the question is going to be was it a reasonable amount of force. It is a reasonable amount of force to harm someone with your concealed weapon even though the other person was just harming property.
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