Understanding Gun Laws in Virginia: What You Should Know for Responsible Gun Ownership
Gun Laws in Virginia
Gun laws in Virginia are regulated by both state and federal law. It is important for Virginia residents to understand these laws in order to legally and safely purchase, possess, carry, and use firearms.
Purchasing a firearm in Virginia requires a background check, which is conducted by the Virginia State Police. This background check is required for all firearm purchases, whether they are made at a store, online, or through a private sale. Federal law requires licensed firearm dealers to conduct a background check, but Virginia state law also requires unlicensed sellers to conduct a background check through a licensed dealer or the Virginia State Police.
There are certain individuals who are prohibited from owning firearms in Virginia. These include individuals who have been convicted of a felony (whose right to purchase, possess, carry, or transport a firearm has not been restored by a court order), individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility (whose rights have not been restored by a court order), and individuals who are subject to a protective order.
Virginia has a “shall issue” concealed carry permit system, which means that as long as an individual meets the requirements for a permit and applies for one, the permit must be issued. To qualify for a concealed carry permit, an individual must be at least 21 years old, have completed a firearms safety training course, and not be prohibited from owning a firearm. These concealed carry permits are issued through each jurisdiction’s Circuit Court clerk’s office.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity with Virginia
Virginia also recognizes concealed carry permits from other states as long as the issuing state has laws that are similar to Virginia’s. The specific rules for this reciprocity are detailed in the Code of Virginia.
Concealed carry reciprocity refers to the recognition of concealed carry permits issued by one state in another state. In other words, if an individual has a concealed carry permit from one state and travels to another state, the second state may recognize and honor the individual’s permit.
Virginia has concealed carry reciprocity agreements with a number of other states. This means that if an individual has a concealed carry permit from one of these states, they can legally carry a concealed firearm in Virginia as long as they comply with Virginia’s laws.
According to the Code of Virginia:
“The Superintendent of State Police shall enter into agreements for reciprocal recognition with such other states that require an agreement to be in place before such state will recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in such state.”
It is important to note that while Virginia recognizes concealed carry permits from certain states, the reciprocity is not always mutual. This means that while a Virginia concealed carry permit may be recognized in another state, a permit from that state may not necessarily be recognized in Virginia. It is always a good idea to check the laws of the state you are traveling to in order to determine whether your concealed carry permit will be recognized.
Virginia Firearms Laws in 2023
Virginia “Guns-free Zone” Law There are certain places where carrying a concealed firearm is prohibited in Virginia, even if you have a permit. These include (but are not limited to) schools, courthouses, and airports. Virginia also has a “guns-free zone” law, which prohibits individuals from carrying a firearm on the premises of any establishment that sells alcohol for on-premises consumption.
Virginia “Stand Your Ground Law” Virginia adheres to a “stand your ground” interpretation of self-defense, which means that individuals are not necessarily required to retreat before using force in self-defense. However, this law does not apply to individuals who are engaged in criminal activity or who are using a firearm in a manner that is likely to cause death or injury to innocent bystanders. This also does not apply to those who are at fault for provoking the confrontation. The force used in self-defense must also be reasonable.
Virginia “Red Flag” Law Virginia also has a “red flag” law, referred to as a substantial risk order, which allows a court to order the temporary removal of firearms from individuals who are found to be a danger to themselves or others. In order to obtain a “red flag” order, a law enforcement officer or Commonwealth’s Attorney must petition the court and provide evidence that the individual poses a risk to themselves or others.
State and Federal Gun Laws in Virginia
In addition to state law, federal law also regulates firearms in Virginia. The National Firearms Act of 1934 regulates the possession and transfer of certain types of firearms, including machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, and silencers. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits certain individuals from owning firearms, including individuals who have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year, individuals who are fugitives from justice, and individuals who are unlawful users of controlled substances.
It is important for Virginia residents to understand and comply with both state and federal gun laws in order to legally and safely own, carry, and use firearms. Ignoring these laws can result in serious consequences, including fines and imprisonment. It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney if you have questions about gun laws in Virginia. Especially before attempting to purchase a firearm if you are uncertain about your eligibility to do so.
If you are a Virginia resident and are interested in learning more about your gun rights in the state, we encourage you to contact David G. Parker Law. As a skilled and experienced lawyer who is knowledgeable about Virginia’s gun laws, David G. Parker can provide you with the information and guidance you need to ensure that you are complying with the law and exercising your rights responsibly.
Contact us today for more information about your rights and options if you have been charged with a gun-related offense or if you have had your gun rights infringed upon in any way.
David’s extensive knowledge and experience with Virginia’s gun laws can provide you with the information and guidance you need to ensure that you are complying with the law and exercising your rights responsibly. Don’t wait – contact David today to learn more about your gun rights in Virginia.