What is the penalty if the abuser has a gun while I have a protective order against him/her?
Under Virginia state law, it is illegal to purchase or transport a firearm while an emergency, preliminary, or final protective order based on family abuse or based on an act of violence, force or threat (or a similar order from another state) is in effect. In addition, anyone with a concealed handgun permit is prohibited from carrying any concealed firearm and has to surrender his/her permit to the court while the protective order based on family abuse or based on an act of violence, force or threat (or a similar order from another state) is in effect. Violation of either of these is a Class 1 misdemeanor and can be punished by jail time for up to one year, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.2
In addition, a new law that took effect on July 1, 2016, makes it a Class 6 felony if the abuser knowingly possesses any firearm while there is a final protective order based on family abuse in effect (or a similar order from another state) and s/he can be incarcerated for up to five years, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. However, s/he is allowed to have the firearm for 24 hours after the order is served upon him/her only for the purpose of selling or transferring the firearm.3
Also, anyone who has or buys a gun in violation of the federal firearm law can be punished by a fine, jail time for up to 10 years, or both.3 For more information, see our Federal Gun Laws page.
1 Va. Code §§ 18.2-308.1:4(A); 18.2-11(a)
2 Va. Code §§ 18.2-308.1:4(B); 18.2-10(f)
3 18 USC § 924(a)(2)