If you've been convicted of a felony in Virginia, you cannot possess a firearm. Possession is more than just carrying the gun in your hand or in a holster. Possession can be constructive, which means that you do not have to be in actual possession of a gun. For example, if you are committing a crime with someone and the other person uses the gun, you can be convicted of being in possession of a firearm. See Blake v. Commonwealth, 45 Va. App. 70 (1993).
It is a class 6 felony to be a felon in possession of a firearm. A class 6 felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. But if the felony you were convicted of was a violent felony, the 5 years is mandatory. That means, if you're convicted of being in possession of a firearm as a felon, then you'll automatically get 5 years. There's nothing the judge or jury can do about that. If the felony conviction was for a non-violent offense, and the conviction happened within the previous ten years, you face a mandatory two years in prison.
Yes. Once you've been released from prison and probation you can request the Governor to restore your civil rights. Your civil rights are your rights to vote and serve on a jury. Once your civil rights have been restored, you can file a petition with your local Circuit Court to have your firearm rights restored. Your chances for having your rights restored depends on your criminal record and the length of time since your last conviction. If your felonies are non-violent drug crimes, your chances of getting your firearm rights restored are greater than if your felony conviction are for violent firearm-related offenses.
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