Possession Of a Firearm Cases In Virginia

In Wilson v. Commonwealth, 19 Va. App. 535, 537, 452 S.E.2d 884, 885 (1995), a robbery victim saw the handle of a gun protruding from the defendant's pocket while his hand was in the pocket next to the gun. The Court held that the victim's observation and her familiarity with guns were sufficient to prove possession of a firearm. In McBride v. Commonwealth, 24 Va. App. 603, 607-08, 484 S.E.2d 165, 168 (1997) (en banc), this Court upheld a conviction of use of a firearm during the commission of a robbery where the defendant pushed an object into the victim's back and said he would shoot. In Redd v. Commonwealth, 29 Va. App. 256, 511 S.E.2d 436 (1999), the defendant displayed a "long black gun" and threatened to kill a store clerk. The Court affirmed a conviction of possession of a firearm by a felon because the threat was an implied assertion that the gun was capable of expelling a projectile, "which was corroborated by the appearance of the object and was uncontradicted by any other evidence." Id. at 259, 511 S.E.2d at 438. In Langston v. Commonwealth, 28 Va. App. 276, 287, 504 S.E.2d 380, 385 (1998), the Court ruled that the Commonwealth proved the defendant's loaded 9-mm pistol was functional when the defendant said he carried it for protection and a police officer testified that it seemed to be in working order.