What You Need to Know About Background Checks

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On July 1, 2020, many new gun laws will go into effect in Virginia.  One of them focuses on the need for background checks for any sale of a firearm.  Stay well informed and remember to vote.
 
Currently, under federal law, it is illegal to sell or otherwise dispose of a firearm to a prohibited person.  This means if you know or think the person might be prohibited you are not supposed to sell them your firearm.  If you do and you are caught you could be charged with a crime.  And of course, it is also illegal for the prohibited person to buy the firearm from you.  For reference, this is – 18 USC Chapter 44 section 922(d) 
 
This federal law was written for responsible people to follow, as most laws should be.  Now the state has to keep tabs on responsible people by requiring them to take extra steps to sell their private property.
 
Starting on July 1, 2020, a new law will take effect in Virginia that will require a criminal history background check for all sales of firearms.  Under this new law if you as a private citizen want to sell your gun to another private citizen you will be required to do this sale through a licensed firearm dealer.  If you do not, you could both be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.  For reference, this is – §18.2-308.2:5
 
There are two exceptions written in the law – if you are selling your firearm to the state as part of a voluntary “buy back” program or at a gun show the Virginia State Police can perform the background checks instead of a dealer.
What does this mean for you?
If you want to buy or sell a gun in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the buyer will need to have their criminal history checked by a licensed firearms dealer (FFL holder) or Virginia State Police directly.  However, the law only states this requirement for the sale of a firearm (for money, goods, services, or anything else of value) not for the gifting of one.
 
If you want to give a family member or a close friend that family heirloom 1911 you have in your safe, you can still do that without background checks.  You can also lend a firearm to a friend at the range or for the upcoming hunting season.  Please keep in mind that under federal law the gift recipients still have to have a clean record.
 
I have always advised people to use a licensed firearms dealer to transfer a gun to someone they do not know. This is controversial but was strictly voluntary.  However, it continues the paper trail on to the next person and shows, without a shadow of a doubt, the buyer was not prohibited.  For more information on this process – Check out this article Tip for Firearms Record Keeping.
 
This post is for informational purposes, not legal advice, please consult a lawyer. 
How does this new law affect you? Do you use an FFL for private transfers already?

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