VA Code 18.2-308 Section 10:
"Any person who may lawfully possess a firearm and is carrying a handgun while in a personal, private motor vehicle or vessel and such handgun is secured in a container or compartment in the vehicle or vessel."
The code section fails to clearly define what constitutes "secured". When this code came out, I expected that some case will eventually make its way up to the VA Supreme Court trying to decide what is secured.
As for the rest of this, why was the vehicle searched? Why were the tags "bad"? Were they expired, altered, belong to another vehicle, or what? Expired tags: administrative violation. Altered: Criminal violation.
Was the vehicle inventoried for towing, and the gun discovered?
I am assuming he was summonsed for the tags and the concealed weapon. You may want not put this information out over the internet prior to the trial.