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Virginia Gun Control Laws

The issues surrounding guns and gun control have become increasingly controversial due to the growing number of high-profile mass shootings in the United States. Gun control laws originate from both federal and state legislation, although the federal government has relatively limited control over the ownership and use of firearms. When it comes to state gun control laws, ownership restrictions tend to vary widely from state to state.

As in other states, Virginia gun control laws prohibit the ownership of sawed-off shotguns and machine guns. They also prohibit the carrying of certain weapons designed to accommodate silencers. Virginia’s gun control laws also restrict who is permitted to own guns. For example, individuals convicted of a felony or who are subject to a protective order (restraining order), may not own or purchase guns. In addition, in order to purchase a rifle or shotgun from a licensed gun dealer, an individual must be at least 18 years of age -- and at least 21 years of age to purchase a handgun. Note that state police have one day in which to conduct a criminal record check on a prospective gun buyer.

The main provisions of Virginia's gun control laws are listed in the following table, with links to related articles.

Code Section

18.2-279, et seq.

Illegal Arms

Sawed-off shotgun/rifle; machine gun

Waiting Period

State Police have until end of next business day after inquiry for possible criminal record by telephone

Who May Not Own

1. Convicted felons or those subject to protective order; 2. Minors: handguns; 3. Aliens; 4. Legally incompetent, mentally incapacitated, involuntary committed, insanity-acquitted

Law Prohibiting Firearms On or Near School Grounds

Felony. 18.2-308.1

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult a Virginia criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For additional information relating to Virginia’s gun control laws, feel free to take a look at the links to related resources listed below. You can also read more about gun control laws, in general, by reading FindLaw’s article, Details on State Gun Control Laws. Finally, if you have more specific questions, need more individualized assistance, or need legal representation for a gun-related crime, you may want to contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney.

Research the Law

Virginia Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

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