New firearms laws go into effect in Virginia July 1

lawAmong the many new laws going into effect July 1, 2016, will be two that impact Virginia concealed handgun permit holders and those engaging in private firearms transactions at Virginia gun shows.

Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit Reciprocity and Recognition: As of July 1, 2016, the Commonwealth of Virginia will recognize all valid concealed handgun or concealed weapon permits and licenses issued by another state (to include the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands) provided the following requirements are met:

  1. The holder of such permit or license is at least 21 years of age; and
  2. The permit or license holder carries a photo identification issued by a government agency of any state or by the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Department of State; and
  3. The holder displays the permit or license and such identification upon demand by a law-enforcement officer; and
  4. The permit or license holder has not previously had a Virginia concealed handgun permit revoked.

Although the new law requires Virginia to grant recognition to all states that issue permits, other states are not required to recognize or authorize Virginia permit holders to possess a firearm in their state. For more information on which states recognize Virginia resident and non-resident concealed handgun permits, please go to the Virginia State Police Website at www.vsp.virginia.gov.

Voluntary Criminal Background Checks for Private Transactions at Virginia Firearms Shows: Also effective July 1, 2016, is the opportunity for those privately buying or transferring firearm(s) at a gun show in Virginia to request a criminal background check on the buyer. Code of Virginia 54.1-4201.2 enacted by the 2016 Virginia General Assembly requires the Department of State Police to be available at every firearms show held in the Commonwealth to make, upon request, determinations in accordance with Code of Virginia 18.2-308.2:2 of whether a prospective purchaser or transferee is prohibited under state or federal law from possession of a firearm in private transactions. A background check in a private sale ensures that the gun is transferred only to a person lawfully eligible to possess firearms and provides evidence to the seller of diligence to protect against the illegal transfer of firearms.

Participation in these background checks is strictly optional and based upon agreement entered into by the firearms seller and recipient. Additional state police personnel will be set up on-site at firearms shows to provide the background check for a fee of $2. The recipient will be required to complete a form attesting to their eligibility to possess firearms and present one, valid, government-issued photo ID (i.e. driver’s license, Virginia Identification card) or military documentation. The background check verification conducted through the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center takes approximately three minutes to complete.

For additional information on one’s eligibility to purchase a firearm in the Commonwealth, please go to www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms_PurchaseEligibility.shtm.

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