From the 17th century flintlock rifles of early colonial days in Williamsburg, to the 19th century Enfield rifles of the Civil War at Richmond, and now to the automatic firearms of the 21st century – whether for food, protection or collection, residents of the Old Dominion have relied upon and treasured guns since Virginia’s earliest settlements.
As such, the right to carry a gun or other firearm is near and dear to many Virginians. That right, of course, can be taken away if you are convicted of a felony. But the question is this, “Once that right is taken away, can you ever get it back?” The answer is a resounding “YES!” – but only if you successfully follow procedure AND prove yourself worthy to the Commonwealth.
And how, exactly, do you do that? The Code of Virginia, in Section 18.2-308.2(C), provides a handy mechanism by which a convicted felon can petition the court for a permit to possess or carry a firearm, firearm ammunition or stun weapon, but only if that person has first had his civil rights restored by the Governor (or other appropriate authority). Any person using this process will be required to provide a copy of the court petition to the local Commonwealth’s Attorney. Then, more likely than not, there will be a hearing in front of a judge, with the Commonwealth’s Attorney present, at which the court may, in its discretion and “for good cause shown,” grant the petition and issue a permit to carry a firearm, etc.
So what is “good cause shown?” Generally speaking, the court will consider your entire criminal history, together with any credible evidence of your character and reputation, to aid in determining whether you are likely to act in a way that would be dangerous to the public safety and whether granting your request to carry a firearm would otherwise be contrary to the public’s interest.
Be cautioned, however! Even if granted, DO NOT confuse this “permit to carry a firearm” with a “permit to carry a concealed firearm”! The penalties for such a mistake would be severe. The right to “carry concealed” is an entirely different right, and one which ALL interested people must apply for within the Commonwealth.
Miller, Walsh, Kutz & Laster is experienced in petitioning the local courts for the restoration of gun rights. We welcome you to contact us for further information at (757) 595-0123 or visit our website at www.mwklawva.com.