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What are the Gun Laws in Virginia?

A Synopsis of State Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms


Gun Show Held At Pima County Fairgrounds
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images
(As of January 2008)

State Requirements

Rifles and Shotguns
  • Permit to purchase rifles and shotguns? No.
  • Registration of rifles and shotguns? No.
  • Licensing of owners of rifles and shotguns? No.
  • Permit to carry rifles and shotguns? No.
  • Permit to purchase handgun? No.
  • Registration of handguns? No.
  • Licensing of owners of handguns? No.
  • Permit to carry handguns? Yes. A permit is required if concealed.
Caution: This summary is meant for general purposes only. Firearm laws frequently change and the following answers may not reflect changes in the laws.

Purchase and Possession

A criminal history record information check is required prior to purchasing any firearm, except for an antique or its replica.

A fee of $2.00 will be collected for such a check. For non-residents it is $5.00.

If any buyer or transferee is denied the right to purchase a firearm, he may exercise his right of access to and review of the criminal history record information, provided such action is initiated within thirty days of the denial.

A licensed firearm dealer shall not deliver a rifle or shotgun to a non-resident until an approval report is received from the state police or 10 days have gone by, whichever comes first.

Permit holders may purchase more than 1 handgun a month. Non-licensed persons may only buy 1 handgun a month.

No state permit is required to otherwise purchase or possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun.

Virginia residents may purchase firearms from any licensed Federal Firearms Licensee, even if they are out of state.

It is a crime for any person to sell, give or otherwise furnish a handgun to a minor if he has reason to believe that the buyer or recipient is under 18 years of age, unless such transfer is made between family members or for the purpose of engaging in a sporting event or activity.

A person under 18 shall not possess or transport a handgun or assault firearm.1

This prohibition does not apply to a minor in his own home or on his property or on the property of another with prior permission, while accompanied by an adult while hunting, at a range or firearm educational class, and while transporting an unloaded firearm to and from such activities.

It is unlawful for a person convicted of a felony, or any person under 29 with a juvenile adjudication, as a 14-year-old or older, which would be a felony if committed by an adult, or a person acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to a mental institution, to possess or transport a firearm.

It is unlawful for any person who is subject to a protective order issued pursuant to family abuse or stalking to purchase or transport any firearm while the order is in effect.

It is unlawful for anyone adjudicated legally incompetent or mentally incapacitated or involuntarily committed to purchase, possess or transport a firearm. It is unlawful to transfer a firearm to such persons.

It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to authorize a child under the age of twelve to use a firearm except when the child is under the supervision of an adult.

It is unlawful to possess, sell, transfer, or import any semi-automatic folding stock shotgun with a spring tension drum magazine capable of holding 12 rounds.

A non-citizen or alien not admitted for permanent residence shall not possess or transport an assault firearm, and a gun dealer shall not transfer it to such person. Most shotguns are not included in the term assault firearm.

When a member of the armed services wishes to purchase a firearm, the permanent duty post of a person in the armed services is their assigned residence.

When a purchaser presents a copy of their permanent orders assigning residence in Virginia, along with a photoidentification issued by the Department of Defense, no other documentation or residency is required by the seller.


The carrying of any concealed firearm by a person about his person, hidden from common observation, is prohibited. Exceptions to this prohibition include:
  1. Carrying in one’s place of abode or the curtilage thereof.

  2. Any regularly enrolled member of a target shooting organization who is at, or going to or from, an established shooting range, provided that the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported.

  3. Any regularly enrolled member of a weapons collection organization who is at, or going to or from, a bonafide weapons exhibition, provided the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported.

  4. Any person carrying such weapons between his place of abode and a place of purchase or repair, provided the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported.

  5. Any person actually engaged in lawful hunting under inclement weather conditions necessitating temporary protection of his firearm.

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