The use of weapons like knives or guns in an illegal activity may be shown as evidence that a suspect had the intention to inflict harm on his or her victim. Because of this, weapons crimes are heavily prosecuted in either a state or federal court to deter people from committing such offenses. The punishments, too, can be harsh. In Fairfax County, Virginia, weapons charges may stem from violent offenses, including murder and robbery, and can ruin an accused individual's life if not handled properly.
In the United States, citizens may own a gun or a weapon as long as they have met the qualifications set by both the federal and state governments. Firearms may be used for different purposes, including hunting or self-defense. Virginia residents know that owning a gun comes with a lot of responsibility and using weapons for unlawful purposes can lead to a weapon charge.
The illegal possession of some firearms may be considered a minor crime by many people in Virginia, but others associate weapons carried in public with violence. In fact, someone who does may have no intention at all of inflicting harm by simply carrying a weapon but can still be charged and convicted of a crime.
Some people use a weapon for self-defense. Others use a weapon to commit a crime, which can sometimes backfires.
Recently, in two apparent gun crimes at Virginia State University in Petersburg, four juveniles were allegedly involved in carjacking a student after intimidating a group of women. VSU police report that one juvenile, who is not a student at the university, was taken into custody and was being detained in the Chesterfield County Juvenile Detention Center. His identity has not been released. The VSU investigation revealed that three other nonstudent juveniles were involved but had not yet been arrested.
When a suspected murder is committed, the victim's community may be quick to jump to the conclusion that a particular person is guilty, even before all of the facts of the case are known. Because of this, it is important that those accused of a crime build a strong defense strategy in their favor.
The Virginia State Police recently released statistics showing that violent crime decreased by 3 percent in 2012, when compared with the previous year. The police reported over 470,000 separate offenses, including over 300 homicides, 1,500 kidnapping offenses, 5,100 rape-related offenses, and 110,000 assaults. While the overall rate for weapons crimes went down, the rates for murder increased from 3.77 percent per 100,000 people in 2011 to 3.86 in 2012.
A high school student from Clover Hill High in Chesterfield was recently arrested and charged with possession of a firearm after a pistol was discovered in the glove compartment of her car. The concealed weapon was found when a school official was checking unfamiliar cars without the required parking decal in the parking lot. The official entered the vehicle in an attempt to find out the identity of the owner and inadvertently discovered the handgun.
Recently, a Virginia senate committee passed two bills mandating tougher penalties for firearm-related offenses in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The first bill would impose harsher penalties on those who transfer a weapon to those not eligible to possess firearms. The second bill would do the same for those who bring weapons near schools with malice. These bills were based off of recommendations made by the governor's task force on school safety.
Police in Newport News, Virginia, arrested a 28-year-old man for weapons possession after he dropped a gun during a police chase. The weapons charge stems from an unrelated offense committed by the man, in which he was pulled over by law enforcement for driving without a headlight. Police officers allegedly smelled marijuana inside the car, and the driver ran from the scene when police asked him to get out of his car. While running, he allegedly dropped a handgun, and he was arrested after police located him. He was charged with obstruction, possession of a handgun and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a stolen handgun. He was also served a summons for the missing headlight.