Virginia Gun Laws

virginia gun laws

Virginia Gun Laws are based on the Article 1, Section 13 of the State of Virginia’s Constitution which reads, “That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”

In general, Virginia Gun Laws do not require permit to purchase firearms, registration and licensing of gun owners. However, the laws require a permit to carry from persons who wish to possess their handguns in places outside their residence, place of business or real properties.

Validity of Permits Issued Under Virginia Gun Laws in Other Jurisdictions

The following states honor permits issued under Virginia Gun Laws:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. Florida
  6. Idaho
  7. Indiana
  8. Iowa
  9. Kansas
  10. Kentucky
  11. Louisiana
  12. Michigan
  13. Mississippi
  14. Missouri
  15. Montana
  16. Nebraska
  17. New Mexico
  18. North Carolina
  19. North Dakota
  20. Ohio
  21. Oklahoma
  22. Pennsylvania
  23. South Carolina
  24. South Dakota
  25. Tennessee
  26. Texas
  27. Utah
  28. Vermont
  29. West Virginia
  30. Wisconsin (only non-resident permits are accepted)
  31. Wyoming

On the other hand, only permits issued from these states are currently recognized by Virginia Gun Laws:

  1. Alaska
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Delaware
  5. Florida
  6. Indiana
  7. Kentucky
  8. Louisiana
  9. Michigan
  10. Minnesota
  11. Mississippi
  12. Missouri
  13. Montana
  14. Nebraska
  15. New Mexico
  16. North Carolina
  17. North Dakota
  18. Ohio
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Pennsylvania
  21. South Carolina
  22. South Dakota
  23. Tennessee
  24. Texas
  25. Utah
  26. Washington
  27. West Virginia
  28. Wyoming

Key Provisions of Virginia Gun Laws

In addition to the general rules stated in the first section of this article, here are the additional rules and regulations enumerated under Virginia Gun Laws:

1. Virginia Gun Laws allow its residents to purchase firearms outside the State provided that the purchase is from a Federal Firearms Licensee.

2. A person has to undergo and pass a criminal history record information check in order to be eligible to purchase a firearm. This is subject to certain fees which must be shouldered by the buyer ($2 for residents and $5 for non-residents) and exempted from this rule are antique or replica guns.

3. Any individual who is denied of the right to purchase a firearm may request within 30 days to access and review his criminal history record information.

4. Giving or selling a handgun to a person below 18 years old is considered a crime. An exemption to this rule is a transfer made between family members or for the purpose of engaging in a lawful sporting activity.

5. A person below 18 years of age is not allowed to transport a handgun or assault firearm.

6. The possession of firearm by an individual who has any of the following disqualifying factors is prohibited by law:

  • Has felony conviction
  • A person under 29 with juvenile adjudication
  • Someone who is adjudicated as legally or mentally incompetent
  • Has an acquittal due to reason of insanity
  • Has been committed to a mental facility
  • The person is a subject of a court order or decision that bars him from possession of firearms
  • Has an addiction to illegal or controlled substances
  • Dishonorably discharged from the US Armed Forces
  • An illegal alien
  • Has a history of drubkenness or violent misdemeanor within the past three years

7. A child under 12 is only allowed to use a firearm while under direct adult supervision.

8. A straw purchase is illegal and it carries a penalty of a minimum of one year imprisonment. Multiple purchases of this nature shall increase the penalty to a minimum of five years of imprisonment.

9. A driver’s license or any photo ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles can only be recognized by a firearm dealer if at least 30 days has lapsed from its date of its issuance. This does not apply though if the ID is already renewed or if the buyer can present proof that the original date of release of his license is 30 days prior to his attempted purchase of a firearm.

10. Possessing, transporting or trading an assault firearm or semi-automatic shotgun that has a spring tension drum magazine capable of carrying up to 12 rounds is illegal. The Striker 12 is an example of a prohibited shotgun. However, most shotguns are not considered as assault firearm under Virginia Gun Laws.

11. Openly carrying a handgun is allowed but having a concealed firearm is prohibited unless the following conditions apply:

  • The possession is within the residence of the person carrying or within his residence’s immediate surrounding land
  • The person in possession is a member of a State-recognized organization that uses guns for recreational or training purposes
  • The person carrying a firearm is a bonafide gun collector
  • Possession of the gun is for lawful hunting
  • The person is a retired law enforcement officer allowed by law to carry a concealed firearm
  • The individual with concealed handgun is a law enforcement official or authorized by law to carry firearms within his line of duty

12. The possession of a machine gun or silencer is allowed as long as it is not for offensive purposes and it complies with the requirements set forth by federal laws.

13. The possession of a sawed-off shotgun or sawed-off rifle is prohibited except for scientific or educational purposes, or in compliance with the requirements of federal laws. A sawed-off shotgun has a barrel length of less than 18 inches while a sawed-off rifle has less than 26 inches of barrel length.

Concealed Carry License Requirements

Anyone who wishes to apply for a concealed carry permit must meet the following conditions:

1. He must be at least 21 years old

2. Resident of the county where he is applying

3. He must not have the disqualifying factors that would bar a person from enjoying the right to bear arms (refer to item number 6 of the previous section)

4. Must be able to fill-up the required forms, submit the supporting documents and pay the necessary fees

5. He should take an oath before a notary or person authorized by law to take oaths


Virginia Gun Laws reserve the power to regulate firearms and ammunition to the State Legislature.

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