Legal Information: Virginia

State Gun Laws

December 16, 2022

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

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 found incompetent to stand trial and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future;3
  4. has been convicted of a felony;
  5. 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;4 or
  6. 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.5

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 s/he:

  • 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;6
  • 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;7
  • is a fugitive from justice;8
  • 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;9
  • was convicted of, or has a charge pending for, stalking;10 or
  • s/he 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;11
  • 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.12

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.

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 § 18.2-308.2(A)
5 Va. Code § 18.2-308.1:5
6 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(7)
7 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(9)
8 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(12)
9 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(14), (17)
10 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(15), (17)
11 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(1)
12 Va. Code § 18.2-308.09(19), (20)

WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.