Illegal Possession of Sawed-Off Shotgun or Rifle

Tough Defense, Strategic Advocacy for the Accused in Virginia

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, a "sawed-off" shotgun is defined as any weapon, loaded or unloaded, which utilizes a self-contained cartridge that enables a number of ball shot pellets or projectiles to be fired all at once. The shotguns can be smooth bore — less than 18 inches — or rifled bore, meaning it has spiraled grooves, less than 16 inches, to qualify as sawed-off. A weapon that is less than .225 caliber is not deemed sawed-off.

A sawed-off rifle is a rifle of any caliber, loaded or unloaded, that is designed as a shoulder weapon that shoots a projectile by exploding a combustible material. The barrel or barrels are less than 16 inches in length or modified overall length of less than 26 inches total. Possession of either of these types of weapons is illegal. If accused, you must contact a Richmond criminal defense attorney with experience in weapons crimes immediately if you wish to protect your freedom.

Weapons Laws in Virginia & Sawed-Off Shotguns or Rifles

In Virginia it is illegal to own or use any "sawed-off" weapon. Exceptions to this rule include:

  • Law enforcement
  • Military
  • Collectors
  • Keepsakes

You may only possess the sawed-off guns for keepsakes if they are unusable. It is very important to be aware of the laws affecting these weapons. You can learn more in the following sections of the Code of Virginia § 18.2-299, § 18.2-300, § 18.2-303, § 18.2-303.1, § 18.2-304, and § 18.2-306.

Penalties for Using / Owning a Sawed-Off Shotgun or Rifle

Any sawed-off shotgun or rifle that is used / attempted to be used in a crime of violence is a Class 2 felony if convicted.

Our Richmond criminal lawyers can help with violent crimes, such as:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Mayhem
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery

A Class 2 felony is punishable by 20 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.00. Possessing or using any sawed-off shotgun or rifle is a Class 4 Felony. If convicted this is punishable by 2-10 years' imprisonment and a fine to not exceed $100,000.00.

What are the implications for gun deals & manufacturers?

Any dealer or manufacturer must keep a register of all sawed-off shotguns and rifles manufactured or handled.

The following must be kept on register:

  • Model and serial number
  • Date of manufacture
  • Date of sale / loan / gift / delivery / recipe
  • The name, address and occupation of the person to whom the gun was sold, loaned, given, or delivered

Failure to be able to produce this upon request to law enforcement is a Class 3 misdemeanor. This is punishable by a fine of up to $500.00. Sawed-off shotguns or rifles that are not legally owned or used will be confiscated, destroyed, or delivered to law enforcement officials.

Speak with Our Richmond Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

Our team at Carlson & Collier includes a former prosecutor and a former lead counsel for the governor of Virginia. As an experienced and knowledgeable team of Richmond criminal defense lawyers, we are prepared to be the advocates you need after a weapons charge.

Call Carlson & Collier now for a free phone evaluation.
We're available to our clients 24/7.

Richmond Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Carlson & Collier
Richmond Criminal Defense Lawyer
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Glen Allen, VA 23060
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.