Legal Information: Virginia

State Gun Laws

November 18, 2016

If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

Under Virginia law, people convicted of certain crimes cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun.  A person is disqualified from getting a permit if s/he:

  • has been convicted of, or has a charge pending for, a felony;* 
  • 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;*1 
  • was convicted of, or has a charge pending for, stalking;*2 
  • 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);*3 
  • is a fugitive from justice;*4
  • as a minor, had a previous conviction/adjudication of delinquency (within the past 16 years of the date of the conviction or release from incarceration, whichever is later) for an offense that would have been a felony if committed by an adult; (Note: This doesn't apply if the person later completed at least two years in the Armed Forces and was honorably discharged);*5
  • is under age 29 and was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile (14 or older) for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult (or, regardless of one's current age, was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, or rape);*6
  • 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);*7 
  • 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;*8 
  • was acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity and committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, although s/he can apply for a permit five years after being released by the Commissioner;*9
  • was declared legally incompetent or mentally incapacitated by a court, although s/he can apply for a permit five years after his/her capacity was "restored";*10 or
  • was involuntarily admitted to a facility or ordered to mandatory outpatient treatment, or who was the subject of a temporary detention order and subsequently agreed to voluntary admission; although s/he can apply for a permit five years after s/he was released from commitment.*11

Federal laws, which apply to all states, also restrict a person's right to have a gun if s/he has been convicted of certain crimes.  Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

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