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Thread: Loaded or unloaded

  1. #1
    Regular Member sparkman2's Avatar
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    Loaded or unloaded

    What is the definition in the state of Virginia of a loaded fire arm or an unloaded fire arm. The only reference that I see is

    4VAC15-40-60:
    H. Meaning of "possession" of bow, crossbow, or firearm and definition of "loaded crossbow" and "loaded firearm." For the purpose of this section, the word "possession" shall include, but not be limited to, having any bow, crossbow, or firearm in or on one's person, vehicle or conveyance. For the purpose of this section, a "loaded firearm" shall be defined as a firearm in which ammunition is chambered or loaded in the magazine or clip when such magazine or clip is engaged or partially engaged in a firearm. The definition of a loaded muzzle loading firearm will include a muzzle loading firearm that is capped, or has a charged pan, or has a primer or battery installed in the firearm. The definition of a "loaded crossbow" is a crossbow that is cocked and has either a bolt or arrow engaged or partially engaged on the shooting rail or track of the crossbow, or with a "trackless crossbow" when the crossbow is cocked and a bolt or arrow is nocked.

    Is this the case? How does this apply to a revolver?
    Last edited by sparkman2; 02-07-2015 at 11:16 PM.
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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    IANAL but my guess would be that a revolver has two or more chambers in the cylinder. If 1 or more chambers have a round in it then it is loaded!
    Only my opinion I suppose one of the more learnered members will come along with a more complete answer.

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    Last edited by Wolf_shadow; 02-07-2015 at 11:43 PM.
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    Regular Member FBrinson's Avatar
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    Without having a specific cite to quote other than the one provided by you, I would go with common sense. A revolver either has cartridges loaded in the cylinder or it doesn't. I'm pretty sure that 'loaded' means no other action is needed other than pulling the trigger to make it go 'bang'.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    I'm too lazy to actually look up the Va Administrative Code section referenced but I have my suspicions that it relates to hunting. A moderately-good attorney should be able to blow it out of the water if it were used in a case not involving hunting.

    The law library is closed now so I'll just suggest you go visit yours and ask for assistance Shepadizing "loaded firearm", "loaded pistol", and "loaded revolver" to see what case law has to say. Off the top of my head I can't recall any case where the loaded vs unloaded status of a firearm was germane outside of a citation for hunting in violation of VAC.

    Since Virginia does not have any 2-step/3-step laws my guess is that if a revolver has ammunition in the cylinder it would be considered loaded regardless if the cylinder was open or closed.

    Gun shows seem to believe that loaded means having a magazine inserted or cartridges in the cylinder or capable of having that happen. Of course they also fear you carrying a magazine/speedloader with cartridges that you brought to the show, but appear unconcerned about you buying and then assembling the components.

    Just for grins and giggles, what brought this subject up?

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    A revolver has 5, 6, etc. chambers. If a cartridge is in one, then it is chambered, in my opinion. Being in the "firing position" would be something different.
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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    Your statement in bold is contradicted by the specific cite quoted by the OP:


    A loaded magazine or clip partially engaged in a firearm is defined as "loaded" even though pulling the trigger would do nothing if there wasn't a round in the chamber. It would seem like having a round in any chamber in the cylinder of a revolver would be exactly the same as having a loaded magazine partially engaged in a firearm.
    Yep,that.
    If you start playing word games with the judge he'll give you the any idiot knows. ..definitions.

  7. #7
    Regular Member FBrinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    Your statement in bold is contradicted by the specific cite quoted by the OP:


    A loaded magazine or clip partially engaged in a firearm is defined as "loaded" even though pulling the trigger would do nothing if there wasn't a round in the chamber. It would seem like having a round in any chamber in the cylinder of a revolver would be exactly the same as having a loaded magazine partially engaged in a firearm.
    Ok, fair enough. I'll just stick with the common sense part, if it has catridges in any chamber, then it is loaded.

    Honestly I was not even thinking about carrying around a revolver with the cylinder not closed since I don't know why anyone would do that other than try to skirt around the law. That is why I wrote that pulling the trigger will make a loaded revolver fire, maybe not on the first pull.
    And as Peter Nap stated, I wouldn't want to be the one arguing with a judge about specific wording. Maybe DMB can come down and try.

    I am also interested in why the OP asked the question in the first place.

  8. #8
    Regular Member FBrinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    I didn't realize anybody on this thread was talking about carrying a revolver with the cylinder not closed. You can pull the trigger all day long on a magazine fed firearm and it won't go bang if there isn't a round loaded in the chamber, but the firearm is still considered loaded if a loaded magazine is inserted in it, even only part way. Most states that have a definition of loaded/unloaded regard a firearm as loaded if there is ammunition present in the firearm, regardless of whether or not pulling the trigger (even repeatedly) will cause the gun to fire.
    The cylinder closed or open was in reference to Skid's post. I think we agree with each other on everything else, no?

  9. #9
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    For the lazy among us, and I am often one of those myself... This is Virginia Administrative Code (VAC) on Dog Hunting. See highlighted paragraph H below. The Code seems to intentionally limit the scope of the definition to only this section of the Code.

    TFred

    4VAC15-40-60. Hunting with dogs or possession of weapons in certain locations during closed season.

    A. Department-owned lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and national forest lands statewide. It shall be unlawful to have in possession a bow, crossbow, or any firearm that is not unloaded and cased or dismantled on all national forest lands statewide and on department-owned lands and on other lands managed by the department under cooperative agreement located in counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, or waterfowl on these lands.

    B. Department-owned lands east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It shall be unlawful to have in possession a bow, crossbow, or any firearm that is not unloaded and cased or dismantled on department-owned lands and on other lands managed by the department under cooperative agreement located in the counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl or migratory gamebirds on these lands.

    C. Certain counties. Except as otherwise provided in 4VAC15-40-70, it shall be unlawful to have either a shotgun or a rifle in one's possession when accompanied by a dog in the daytime in the fields, forests or waters of the counties of Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren, and in the counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, except Patrick, at any time except the periods prescribed by law to hunt game birds and animals.

    D. Shooting ranges and authorized activities. The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the conduct of any activities authorized by the board or the establishment and operation of archery and shooting ranges on the lands described in subsections A, B and C of this section. The use of firearms, crossbows, and bows in such ranges during the closed season period will be restricted to the area within the established range boundaries. Such weapons shall be required to be unloaded and cased or dismantled in all areas other than the range boundaries. The use of firearms, crossbows, or bows during the closed hunting period in such ranges shall be restricted to target shooting only and no birds or animals shall be molested.

    E. It shall be unlawful to chase with a dog or train dogs on national forest lands or department-owned lands except during authorized hunting, chase, or training seasons that specifically permit these activities on these lands or during raccoon hound field trials on these lands between September 1 and March 31, both dates inclusive, that are sanctioned by bona fide national kennel clubs and authorized by permits required and issued by the department and the U.S. Forest Service.

    F. It shall be unlawful to possess or transport any loaded firearm, or loaded crossbow in or on any vehicle at any time on national forest lands or department-owned lands.

    G. The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the possession, transport and use of loaded firearms by employees of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries while engaged in the performance of their authorized and official duties, nor shall it prohibit possession and transport of loaded concealed handguns where the individual possesses a concealed handgun permit as defined in 18.2-308 of the Code of Virginia.

    H. Meaning of "possession" of bow, crossbow, or firearm and definition of "loaded crossbow" and "loaded firearm." For the purpose of this section, the word "possession" shall include, but not be limited to, having any bow, crossbow, or firearm in or on one's person, vehicle or conveyance. For the purpose of this section, a "loaded firearm" shall be defined as a firearm in which ammunition is chambered or loaded in the magazine or clip when such magazine or clip is engaged or partially engaged in a firearm. The definition of a loaded muzzleloading firearm will include a muzzleloading firearm that is capped, or has a charged pan, or has a primer or battery installed in the firearm. The definition of a "loaded crossbow" is a crossbow that is cocked and has either a bolt or arrow engaged or partially engaged on the shooting rail or track of the crossbow, or with a "trackless crossbow" when the crossbow is cocked and a bolt or arrow is nocked.

    Statutory Authority

    29.1-501 and 29.1-502 of the Code of Virginia.

    Historical Notes

    Derived from VR325-02-1 6, eff. July 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 9, Issue 22, eff. August 26, 1993; amended, Virginia Register Volume 10, Issue 23, eff. September 8, 1994; Volume 11, Issue 9, eff. February 22, 1995; Volume 13, Issue 18, eff. July 1, 1997; Volume 13, Issue 26, eff. September 15, 1997; Volume 25, Issue 25, eff. August 1, 2009.

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