Since Virginia has become a blue democrat controlled state in 2019, many new gun laws have been enacted. Unfortunately, this is only the start.
We want to make sure you have the information you need about the new Virginia gun laws so you can abide if necessary. As well as, know what constitutional rights are being affected and what to vote against in the next election. Get involved if you are not already, Check out this article
for resources in Virginia
What Will Go Into Effect on July 1, 2020
Criminal History Record Information Checks
This new law will require a background check for ANY firearm sales in Virginia. Licensed dealers already have to do this for every sale both in their store and at gun shows. Now private citizens have to do this as well if they want to sell a firearm to another private citizen. Fortunately, any licensed gun dealer or the Virginia State Police can perform this check for you at no more than $15 per gun.
Removal of Firearms For Posing a Substantial Risk
What is commonly referred to as a “Red Flag Law”, there are two major parts. The first is called an Emergency Substantial Risk Order, this is the part where your firearms are surrendered prior to a hearing. The state has 14 days to give you this hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to issue an order
The second part is the Substantial Risk Order, this is issued if the court finds clear and convincing evidence of you being a risk. These orders last no longer then 180 days but can be extended if the state shows evidence you are still a threat. You can, however, petition to have the order dissolved, but only after 30 days.
As already stated, during the emergency order your guns will be voluntarily surrendered and held by law enforcement. The state can also get a search warrant if there is evidence that you did not give them all up. If you do not want the state to store your firearms, since they are known for keeping them in great condition, they can be transferred to a person over 21 during the hearing. This person can not live with you and has to be able to legally possess firearms.
Lastly, if any falsify a statement are made during this process, they are punishable by a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to 12 months and a $2500 fine)
Limitation on Handgun Purchases
This new law puts a restriction on how many handguns can be bought in a 30 day period to one. Before this law, you could buy as many as you wanted, but the dealer would have to file a multiple handgun purchase report. This report is kept on file with the Virginia State Police for an extended amount of time. In contrast, background check forms are only kept for 30 days.
Now it is a Class 1 misdemeanor if you try to buy more then one a month unless you are a licensed dealer, correctional facility, law enforcement agency, or security company, among others. The most beneficial exclusion to the law is if you have a valid Virginia permit to carry a concealed handgun.
Firearms and Other Weapons on School Property
Small but mighty, this law states no school board in Virginia can authorize a person to possess a firearm on school property. Any school board that wants to take additional action to protect their students by arming teachers or administrators can not do so. Only individuals currently authorized by law can protect our children.
This shuts down any future discussion on the enhanced protection of our students and educators. The only people authorized to carry a firearm on school property are current and retired law enforcement. School districts can not even hire private armed security if they wanted to unless they are private schools.
Allowing Access to Firearms by Minors
This is an existing law, all they did was change the penalty from a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is a fine up to $500, to a class 1 misdemeanor, which is up to 12 months in jail and $2500 fine.
Prohibition on Trigger Activators
Most probably referring to bump stocks but not exactly sure what they mean by “Trigger Activator”, this law is written kind of odd. They say “device designed to allow a semi-automatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger” this is clear. Then they add “by harnessing the recoil energy of any semi-automatic firearm” which is how semi-automatic works anyway.
Either way, the penalty is a class 6 felony. However, if the firearm is compliant with the National Firearms Act (NFA) this law does not apply.
Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms
If a gun is lost or stolen you should probably report it. We talk about this in our article Tips for Keeping Record of Your Firearms.
But now it is mandatory with a civil fine of $250 if you don’t report it within 48 hours of discovering the loss.
Basically this pre-existing law puts a prohibition on knowledge and training about firearms (and explosives) if the knowledge and training will be used in a crime, or as they say it “civil disorder”. The addition to this law says if you are with other people, (assembled with one or more) with the intent to intimidate them you can not brandish or hold your firearm as to “reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured” (§18.2-282)
Some think this will be used to stop Second Amendment rallies in the future.
This activity carry’s a range of punishment from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a class 5 felony
Control of Firearms by Localities
The additions in this law make it possible for local jurisdictions to restrict firearms and ammunition on their owned or controlled property. So any building (or part of) that has a government department or agency, any local park or community center, and any event on a public street. The key here is, each locality can make there own ordinances so when you travel from place to place the laws will be different.
This will be important if you conceal carry in an area with tightly packed counties and cities like Northern Virginia. This law makes it more difficult but not impossible. We will try to track any ordinances that come up and let you know.
Protective Orders and Possession of Firearms
Quite simply, If you have an active protective order you are not allowed to possess a firearm. You have 24 hours to get rid of any firearms you own either to another person or to a dealer. The addition to the law now requires proof and allows law enforcement to take possession of the firearms and store them.
With this new law in effect, you have 24 hours to surrender, sell, or transfer your firearms, as well as, certify in writing within 48 hours that you no longer possess any guns. If you fail to provide this certification it will constitute contempt of court.
Similar to the Substantial Risk Order, if a law enforcement agency takes possession of your gun, they are in no way liable for any damage to or deterioration, loss, or theft of your firearm.
Two Extra Credit Changes to Virginia Law
Sales Tax Exemption for Gun Safes
Here is a bit of good news, when you buy a gun safe that is $1,500 or less it is exempt from sales tax. In the same way medical supplies and wheelchairs are exempt from sales tax. It seems to even include sales and discounts.
Concealed Handgun Permit Demonstration of Competence
While this one does not go into effect until January 1, 2021, it is worth talking about. The changes in this law require all demonstrations of competence with a handgun to be in person. The ability to take a safety course online, by video, or by electronic means has been removed.
So if you are competent with a handgun and want to use an online course, be sure to get that done this year.
This post is for informational purposes, not legal advice, please consult a lawyer.
What do you think about these new Virginia Gun laws? How will they affect you? How are you getting involved to change them?