The Virginia Gun Owner's Guide

Used and recommended statewide

Covers the information you need to know as a gun owner,
in plain English.



CHAPTER 1 • The Right To Keep and Bear Arms

Virginia State Constitution, Article 1, Section 13 18

Introduction to the State Gun Laws 19

A Word About Federal Laws 20

The Dreaded “§” Section Symbol 21

What Is A Firearm? 22

Who Can Bear Arms in Virginia? 23

Federal Prohibited Possessor List 24

Landlord Rental Agreements 25

Special License Plates 25

Juveniles 25

Child Safety Law 26

Federal Regulation of Juveniles 27

Gun-Free School Zones 27

How Do You Obtain Firearms? 29

In-State Purchase 30

Instant Background Check 32

The 30-Day Rule: Multiple Handgun Purchases 33

Out of State Purchases 35

Gun Shows 36

Transport and Shipping 36

Interstate Travel 37

Reciprocity 39

Common or Contract Carriers 41

Loss of Rights 42

Forfeiture of Rights 42

Seizure and Forfeiture of Weapons 42

Restoration of Rights 43

Grounds for Forfeiture 44


CHAPTER 2 • Carrying Firearms

Open Carry 49

Concealed Weapons 49

Guns in Cars 51

Special Category Firearms 52

The Concealed Handgun Permit 53

Qualifications for a Concealed-Carry Permit 55

Disqualification 56

Concealed-Carry Permit Application 57

Application Denials 58

Record Keeping 59

Prohibited Places List 61


CHAPTER 3 • Types of Weapons

Prohibited Weapons 70

Defaced Deadly Weapons 70

State Prohibited-Weapons List 70

Illegal Guns 73

Affected Weapons 73

Machine Guns 74

Curios, Relics and Antiques 77

New Legislation 77


CHAPTER 4 • Local Laws

The Preemption Law 83

Enabling Laws 84

Where Can You Go Shooting 87

County and City Laws 88

A Few Examples of Local Law 89

Fairfax County 89

City of Richmond 90

Virginia Beach 92

Local Ordinance Sampler 93


CHAPTER 5 • Deadly Force and Self Defense

Use of Deadly Physical Force 100

Deadly Force Precedents 102

The 12 Principles of Deadly Force and Self Defense 103

Related Laws 110

Brandishing Firearms 110

Recklessly Handling Firearms 110

Discharging Firearms in Public Places 110

Shooting in Streets 110

Warning Shots 111

Wounding a Person Without Justification 111

Booby Traps 111

Reporting Wounds 112

Threat of Force to Deter Trespass 112

Riot and Unlawful Assembly 112

Larceny 112

Exemptions From Paramilitary Activity 112

Bullet-Proof Vests 113

Lasers 113

Use of Force by Teachers 113

Keeping Control of Your Firearms 113

Disarming an Officer 113


CHAPTER 6 • Hunting Requirements

Public Lands 121

National Parks 122

Federal Refuges 122

National Forests 122

State Forests 123

State Parks 123

Wildlife Management Areas 124

Military Areas 124

Army Corps of Engineers Land 124

Corporate Lands 124

Some Key State Hunting Regulations 125

County Firearm-Hunting Ordinances 127

A Hunter’s Pledge 129


CHAPTER 7 • Notes On Federal Laws

Main Federal Gun Laws List 133

Federal Firearms Transportation Guarantee 134

The Brady Law 135

Part 1 – Handguns (expired) 136

Part 2 – National Instant Check 137

Multiple Sales of Handguns 138

Common or Contract Carriers 138

Licensing Fees 138

Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act 139

Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety Act 139

Antiterrorism Act of 1996 140

Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1996 141

Misdemeanor Gun Ban for Domestic Violence 142

Omnibus Funding Bill for 1999 144

USA Patriot Act and Arm The Pilots Act 144

Growth in Federal Gun Law Chart 146


CHAPTER 8 • Gun Safety And Self-Defense Training

The Gun Owner’s Commandments of Safety 148

Teach Your Children Well 151

Keeping Children Safe 151

Secured Storage 151

Disabling 153

One Man’s Approach 154

The Eddie Eagle Program 154

How Well Do You Know Your Gun? 155

Concealed Handgun Training 156

Areas of Study 157

Judgmental Shooting 159

Situational Analysis 160

Recommended Reading 165


Appendix A—Glossary of Terms 169

Appendix B—Crime and Punishment Chart 175

Appendix C—The Proper Authorities 179

Appendix D—The Virginia Gun Laws in numerical order 185

About the Authors 244

Other Books From Bloomfield Press 246



What Does It All Mean? (Penalties) 45

What Do You Need to Get a Firearm? 46

Where Are Guns Forbidden? 60

How Can You Carry a Gun? 64

When Can You Conceal a Firearm? 66

What’s Wrong with This Picture? (Weapons) 78

There’s Nothing Wrong with This Picture 80

What’s Wrong with This Picture? (Shooting) 96

Do You Have to Drag a Crook Inside? 114

Can You Point a Gun at Someone? 116

The Noble Uses of Firearms 166




This book is very much a result of the help we received, great and small, from the good people who provided their thoughts, answered our endless questions, and shared resources with us.Thank you.

Leon App, Conservation and Development Program Supervisor
Dept. of Conservation and Recreation
Ray Cahen, Legislative Director, Virginia Shooting Sports Association
Darrell Carden, Vice Commodore, Hopewell Yacht Club
Lucien J. Charette, Executive Director,
Virginia Shooting Sports Association
Barton Cooley, Mayor, Hillsville, Virginia
Harper Corder, Special Agent, United States Forest Service
Col. William Deneke, Founder, Virginia Shooting Sports Association
Thomas W. Evans
James J. Fotis, Executive Director,
Law Enforcement Alliance of America
Jeff Freeman, Virginia Legislative Liaison
National Rifle Association
Dennis Fusaro, Director, Gun Owners of America
Richard E. Gardiner, Attorney at Law
Fred Griisser
Charly Gullett, Author
Stephen P. Halbrook, Ph.D., Attorney at Law
Larry Hart, Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries
Rich Jefferson, Coordinator of External Affairs and Marketing,
Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries
Bruce Jones, Virginia Wildlife Federation
Cheryl and Tyler Brittany Korwin
Georgene Lockwood, Author
Larry Malinish
Leslie, Steven Blaise and Kevin Dale Maniscalco
Ted McCormack, Assistant Director, Commission on Local Gov’t.
Tanya Metaksa, Executive Director, Institute for Legislative Action, National Rifle Association
Paul Moog, President, Northern Virginia Civilian Defense League
Major Justin B. Murphy, Staff Duty Officer, Fairfax County Police
Mark H. Overstreet, Researcher, National Rifle Association
Ernie Padgett, President, Virginia Shooting Sports Association
The Pensus Group, including Richard Shaw, Chris Shaw,
David Maule-ffinch and Terrence Plas
Ron Pike
Erich M. Pratt, Director, Gun Owners of America
Larry Pratt, Executive Director, Gun Owners of America
Robert Saunders, Jr., Harbormaster of the City of Hopewell
Jim Snyder, Membership Director,
Northern Virginia Civilian Defense League
Donna Tate, Office Manager, Virginia State Police
Easter Thompson, Vice President, Public Relations
STG Marketing Communications, Inc.
Capt. R. Lewis Vass, Records Management Officer,
Virginia State Police
Jeannie Whitehurst, Library Information Specialist,
Virginia Beach Wahab Public Law Library
M.H. Wilkinson, Director, Commission on Local Gov’t.
Gary R. Wright, Director of Administration,
City of Norfolk Circuit CourtWe found the Virginia State Police to be cooperative and professional during the research stages of this book, and we were impressed with their diligence in implementing the various elements of Virginia gun law.
The Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries is a wonderful resource for the state and their cooperation in the development of this book is much appreciated.
The National Rifle Association Institute allowed the use of material in their pamphlet, “Your State Firearms Laws.”

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