Legal Information: Virginia

State Gun Laws

December 31, 2021

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

Under Virginia law, it is illegal for a person to have or buy a firearm if s/he:

  1. was acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity and committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services;1
  2. was declared legally incompetent or mentally incapacitated by a court;2
  3. as an adult or as a minor who is age 14 or older, s/he was:
    • involuntarily admitted to a facility;
    • ordered to mandatory outpatient treatment;
    • the subject of a temporary detention order and subsequently agreed to voluntary admission; or
    • found incompetent to stand trial and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future;3
  4. has an emergency, preliminary, or final protective order issued against him/her due to:
    • family abuse;
    • an act of violence, force or threat;
    • a protective order issued as part of a divorce;
    • an order issued due to abuse/neglect of a child; or
    • a similar restraining order as any of the above that was issued by another state;
  5. has a substantial risk order against him/her or a similar order issued by another state;4
  6. has been convicted of a felony;
  7. was adjudicated “delinquent” as a juvenile at age 14 or older for one of the following crimes:
    1. murder;
    2. kidnapping;
    3. robbery by the threat or presentation of firearms;
    4. rape; or
    5. any other felony but only if the person is currently under the age of 29;5
  8. is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;6
  9. is under 18 unless certain exceptions are met; Note: The law specifically prohibits possessing a handgun and assault firearm, not all firearms;7 or
  10. was convicted of two misdemeanor drug offenses within a three-year period. Note: The law specifically prohibits possessing a handgun, not all firearms. And, if five years pass from the date of the second conviction without a new conviction for another drug offense, then this restriction no longer applies.8

In addition, even if the laws, explained above, do not prohibit a person from having a firearm, there are additional restrictions when it comes to carrying a concealed handgun. A person is not eligible for a permit to carry a concealed handgun if:

  • was convicted of two or more misdemeanors within the past five years and one of the misdemeanors was a Class 1 misdemeanor (Note: Even if none of them were Class 1 misdemeanors, a judge can still decide to deny the permit);9
  • is addicted to, or is an unlawful user or distributor of, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids (i.e., K2, Spice, etc.), or any controlled substance;
  • within the past three years, was convicted of driving while intoxicated, public drunkenness, or a substantially similar offense under the laws of any other state;10
  • is a fugitive from justice;
  • was discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;11
  • is someone who the judge determines is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others (based on specific acts s/he committed). Note: The sheriff, chief of police, or attorney for the Commonwealth would have to submit to the court a sworn, written statement indicating that, in his/her opinion and based upon personal knowledge of specific acts committed, the person is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others;12
  • was convicted of, or has a charge pending for, any assault, assault and battery, sexual battery, discharging of a firearm, or brandishing of a firearm within the past three years;13
  • was convicted of, or has a charge pending for, stalking;14
  • has received mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment in a residential setting within the past five years;15
  • was convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member for an offense that occurred on or after July 1, 2021 – in this case, s/he cannot get a permit for three years following the conviction;
  • is enrolled into the Voluntary Do Not Sell Firearms List;16 or
  • within the past three years, was found guilty of any criminal drug offense (listed in Article 1 of the law, beginning with section 18.2-247) or of a criminal offense of illegal possession or distribution of marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, or any controlled substance in another state; (Note: This includes a first-time offender who was sentenced to probation and, upon fulfilling the terms of probation, had the conviction discharged and the proceedings dismissed).17

1 Va. Code § 18.2-308.1:1(A)
2 Va. Code § 18.2-308.1:2(A)
3 Va. Code § 18.2-308.1:3(A)
4 Va. Code § 18.2-308.1:4
5 Va. Code § 18.2-308.2(A)
6 Va. Code § 18.2-308.2:01(A)
7 Va. Code § 18.2-308.7
8 Va. Code § 18.2-308.1:5
9 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(7)
10 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(8), (9)
11 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(11), (12)
12 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(13)
13 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(14), (17)
14 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(15), (17)
15 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(18)
16 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(1)
17 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(19), (20)

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