Are there limitations on assault weapons? No
Virginia - No state restriction on the sale or possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons. Assault weapons are as easy to buy as hunting rifles. Congress and President Bush allowed the federal assault weapons ban to sunset in 2004. See also: Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines
Must handguns be ballistic fingerprinted prior to sale? No
No state requirement that gun dealers or manufacturers provide police with sample bullets/cartridges or digital images of bullets/cartridges prior to the sale of a handgun, �ballistic fingerprinting,� which would assist police in tracing bullets at crime scenes to the guns that fired them.
CHILD ACCESS PREVENTION - CAP
Are gun owners held accountable for leaving guns accessible to kids? Yes
State law holds gun owners responsible if they leave a gun easily accessible to a child under 14 years old and the child uses the gun to injure or threaten someone.
Must locking devices be sold with guns? No
No state requirement that guns be sold with child-safety locks that could prevent a tragic accident. Child-safety locks cost as little as $10 and could save lives if sold with firearms.
Are only authorized users able to operate handguns? No
Virginia - There is no state law mandating that all new handguns be sold with 'personalized' handgun technology that would only allow the authorized user to operate the firearm. Childproof handguns play an important role in helping to prevent unintentional shootings among children and to deter suicides among minors.
GUN DEALER REGULATIONS
Must gun dealers adhere to state licensing and/or oversight systems? Partial
Virginia - The state requires all firearm dealers to obtain a state license to sell firearms. State law mandates licensed firearm dealers to record and retain all sales records on premises. Law enforcement officials are permitted to conduct random inspections to compare a dealer's inventory with the dealer's sales records in order to identify any off-the-books transactions or other discrepancies. State law mandates that a firearm dealer take steps to ensure his/her inventory is protected and secured. (Examples: Locked inventory, product placement requirements, employee screening, install alarm systems, etc.)
GUN MANUFACTURER ACCOUNTABILITY
Do cities have authority to hold gun makers legally liable? No
State law forbids city and county governments from taking any legal action to hold gun manufacturers accountable, even when they act irresponsibly in the way they design, market or distribute weapons. No other industry enjoys such special immunity for irresponsible conduct.
GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE
Are background checks required at gun shows? No
No state requirement that a Brady criminal background check be done on people buying guns at gun shows if they are sold by "private" individuals or gun "collectors." Gun shows can operate on a "no questions asked, cash-and-carry" basis, making it easy for criminals and even juveniles to buy as many guns as they want at gun shows, including assault weapons. No records are required to be kept on gun show sales by private individuals or gun collectors, making it almost impossible for police to trace such weapons if they are used in a crime.
GUNS AT WORK
Are businesses forced to allow guns in the workplace? No
Virginia - There is no state law forcing employers or businesses to allow guns on their privately held property.
GUNS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
Are colleges/universities forced to allow guns on campus? No
Virginia - There is no state law forcing colleges/universities to allow guns on campus.
Is it illegal to sell handguns to anyone under 21 years of age? No
State law does not restrict selling handguns to juveniles under the age of 21 by unlicensed sellers. Under federal law, only federally licensed dealers are prohibited from selling or delivering handguns or ammunition for handguns to any person under the age of 21. A strong state law is needed to stop unlicensed persons from selling handguns to those under the age of 21.
LARGE CAPACITY AMMUNITION MAGAZINES
Are there limitations on large capacity ammunition magazines? No
Virginia - There is no state law restricting the sale or possession of large capacity ammunition magazines that can fire 30, 50 or even 75 rounds without reloading. Ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition are considered large capacity magazines. These types of ammunition magazines are available for any firearm capable of accepting a detachable magazine, including assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns.
LICENSE OR PERMIT TO PURCHASE
Is a license/permit required to buy handguns? No
No state requirement that handgun buyers obtain a handgun license or undergo any type of safety training prior to buying a handgun.
LIMIT BULK PURCHASES
Is there a one-handgun-per-month limit on sales? Yes
State law restricts gun-trafficking by limiting the number of handguns that can be purchased at one time. No more than one handgun may be purchased by a person within a 30--day period. Unfortunately this law has been severely weakened over the years by exempting CCW permit holders and private sellers from the one-handgun-per-month regulation. The restriction on bulk-buying of handguns helps prevent gun traffickers from buying handguns at gun stores and reselling them on the street to criminals.
LIMITS ON CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMITS
May police limit carrying concealed handguns? No
State law forces police chiefs and state sheriffs to give concealed carry permits (CCW) to anyone who can buy a handgun, allowing them to carry loaded, concealed handguns in public (known as �shall issue�). Police may not even require safety training in the legal or safe use of weapons for CCW applicants. State law allows residents of some other states to carry concealed weapons in this state without informing local police.
Must new semi-automatic handguns be sold with microstamping technology? No
Virginia - There is no state law requiring new semi-automatic handguns be fitted with microstamping technology, which would engrave on each fired bullet casing microscopic identifying markings that are specific to that firearm alone. This technology would provide law enforcement with another investigative tool to better solve gun crimes and apprehend armed criminals.
PREEMPTION - LOCAL GUN LAWS
May municipalities enact law stronger than the state's? No
State law forbids local city or county governments from enacting any local gun laws, even though the state has failed to pass responsible state-wide laws. This preemption of local government authority makes it impossible for cities to enact sensible gun laws to make their citizens safer. Local laws enacted prior to 1987 were allowed to remain in force.
May police maintain gun sale records? Partial
Virginia: State law authorizes law enforcement to keep a record for up to 12 months, of every handgun sold in the state by licensed gun dealers in order to enforce the state's restriction on bulk buying of handguns (one-handgun-per-month law). But the state does not keep any records on the sale of rifles or shotguns or on the "private" sale of handguns by individuals. In addition, the governing body of any county may require sellers of handguns to submit detailed sales records to the county clerk. The handgun sale records are maintained by police for use in gun tracing and related criminal investigations and to verify compliance with the state's one handgun per month law. But the state does not automatically compare past gun sale records with recent criminal activity to identify and disarm felons and others who bought guns legally, but later committed a crime or otherwise became ineligible to keep possession of their firearms.
Are all guns registered with law enforcement? No
No state requirement that gun owners register their firearms. Police do not know how many guns are in the state or where they are. The lack of registration data makes it more difficult for police to trace guns used in crime, identify illegal gun traffickers or hold gun owners accountable for their weapons. There is no state system to automatically identify and disarm felons and other prohibited people who bought guns legally in the past, but later committed a crime or otherwise became ineligible to keep possession of their firearms.
REPORT LOST/STOLEN GUNS
Are firearm owners required to report all lost or stolen guns to law enforcement? No
Virginia - State law does not require firearm owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. This requirement would help to keep illegal guns off the streets by removing the excuse used by gun traffickers that "lose" their firearms.
Are there consumer safety standards on guns? No
No state requirement that handguns meet any basic safety standards. No requirement that guns be sold with a child-safety lock or a built-in �personalized� lock to prevent unauthorized use. No requirement that handguns have loaded-chamber indicators or magazine safety disconnects that could prevent unintentional shootings. The state Attorney General is not allowed to independently establish handgun safety standards.
SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIALS
Are there limitations on 'junk' handguns? No
No state restriction on the sale of Saturday night specials or "junk" handguns. No requirement that handguns meet any safety tests such as a drop-safety test or a firing-performance test. No restriction on the sale of snub-nosed handguns that are very small and easy to conceal.
Is deadly force allowed to be a first resort in public? No
Virginia - The state does not allow the use of deadly force as a first resort in public.
UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS
Are background checks required on all gun sales? No
Virginia - No state requirement that criminal background checks be done on all firearm sales. People buying firearms at gun shows, swap meets, or through newspaper or internet advertisements are not subject to a background check. Criminal background checks are only required if the buyer goes to a federally-licensed gun store - all other sales are not subject to the background check.
Is there a waiting period on gun sales? No
No state requirement that there be a waiting period for gun sales beyond the "instant check" in federal law. Police are not given any additional time to run a criminal background check to make sure the gun buyer is not prohibited from acquiring firearms. There is no "cooling off" period to help prevent crimes of passion.
The gun law summaries provided by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence should not be regarded as explanation of state law. While we try to keep this information accurate and updated, this material is provided for general discussion and reference purposes only.