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Understanding Virginia’s gun laws

Each state has its own laws and restrictions pertaining to the ownership of firearms. Virginia residents who have recently moved to the state, served time for a crime or wish to purchase or sell a gun may want to know the state’s specific laws on gun ownership.

Many residents are allowed to own guns in Virginia, explains FindLaw. However, certain restrictions or permissions are required. Residents must be over the age of 18 to buy a shotgun or rifle, or at least 21 to purchase a handgun. When buying a firearm from a licensed dealer, there is a one-day waiting period for law enforcement to conduct a background check. Those prohibited from owning a gun in the state include people convicted of felonies, those deemed mentally incapacitated or legally incompetent, people who were involuntarily committed and those who have protective orders against them.

Additionally, states the Virginia State Police, legal permanent residents may purchase a gun, but undocumented residents are not eligible to own firearms. Generally, gun owners are permitted to open carry their firearms, except when they are prohibited, such as inside government buildings or private establishments that do not allow weapons. Gun owners are not required to register their weapons in Virginia, unless they are lawfully permitted to own a machine gun.

Virginia’s gun laws are relatively permissive in comparison to some states. However, violating firearm laws may result in serious criminal consequences, including prison time and losing the right to own guns in the future. It can help to understand the laws before purchasing or carrying a weapon.