Firearms / Concealed Weapons

Attention All Firearms Purchase Applicants

On March 26, 2014, the United States Supreme Court decided in U.S. v. Castleman, Case No. 12-1371, that Title 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(9), a firearms disqualifier for the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, is satisfied by the degree of force that supports a common-law battery conviction. This decision effectively overrules the 4th Circuit decision in U.S. v. White, (2010 4th Cir Ct), that ruled a Virginia domestic assault conviction was not a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence because it did not satisfy the "physical force" requirement. Individuals convicted of an offense that meets the federal definition of domestic violence are prohibited to possess firearms under federal law.

Based on this ruling a previous firearms purchase approval does not ensure continued approval.

The State Police background check for the purchase of a firearm includes the enforcement of both state and federal law.

Firearms Transaction Center Help Desk

Phone: (804) 674-2292 or (804) 674-2788

Email: firearms@vsp.virginia.gov

Mailing Address:
Department of State Police
P.O. Box 85608
Richmond, VA 23285-5608
ATTN: FTC

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the laws concerning knives; specifically, the carrying of a non-concealed knife, and are there knife designs, blade sizes, etc., that are prohibited?

Virginia Code § 18.2-311 describes certain weapons, including some knives, which are illegal to possess in Virginia. Additionally, refer to Virginia Code § 18.2-308 for specific prohibitions concerning concealed weapons. It is suggested that you contact your county or city authorities to inquire as to whether or not there are applicable local ordinances.

Are firearms registered in Virginia?

With the exception of machine guns, firearms are not registered in Virginia.

May I travel through Virginia with a firearm in my vehicle?

Please refer to Transporting Firearms through Virginia in this website.

May I “open carry” a firearm in Virginia?

A firearm may be carried openly in Virginia except where prohibited by statute.  Please refer to §§ 18.2-279 to 18.2-311.2. The Code of Virginia may be searched at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode.

What is the legal age to purchase or possess a firearm?

A person must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun from a licensed firearms dealer. To purchase a handgun from a licensed firearms dealer, you must be at least 21 years of age, pursuant to federal law. For statutory regulations concerning underage persons possessing firearms, refer to Virginia Code § 18.2-308.7, possession or transportation of certain firearms by persons under the age of eighteen.

What is the legal age to purchase ammunition?

Virginia law does not address age requirements for the purchase of ammunition. Federal law requires an individual to be at least 21 years of age to purchase handgun ammunition, and at least 18 years old to purchase rifle or shotgun ammunition.

What are the laws concerning the private sale of a handgun?

No person shall sell a firearm unless he has obtained verification from a licensed dealer in firearms that information on the prospective purchaser has been submitted for a criminal history record information check as set out in § 18.2-308.2:2 and that a determination has been received from the Department of State Police that the prospective purchaser is not prohibited under state or federal law from possessing a firearm or such sale is specifically exempted by state or federal law. The dealer may charge and retain an additional fee not to exceed $15.00 for obtaining a criminal history record information check on behalf of a seller.

Why was my firearms purchase application placed in a status of delay?

The criminal history record information check required prior to the purchase of a firearm in Virginia is accomplished by a name check in conjunction with the purchaser's race, sex, and date of birth.  It is not unusual for a "hit" response to occur upon query the national and state databases due to similar or exact personal descriptors of the prospective purchaser and those listed on an arrest record.  When this occurs, review is necessary to determine if the prospective purchaser may be the same individual contained in these files, as well as lawful eligibility if probable identification is determined.

Does one have to have U.S. citizenship to be eligible to purchase a firearm?

A buyer who is a lawful permanent resident alien the United States may purchase firearms in the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to the same identification and residency requirements as a citizen.  Prohibitions apply, however, to "any alien in the United States in a non-immigrant status" with certain exceptions and a waiver process. Contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives if you have questions about these regulations.

What are the disqualifications for the purchase of a firearm?

Please refer to Firearms Purchase Eligibility Test in this website.

Are law enforcement officers subject to the background check when purchasing firearms?

Law enforcement offices are not exempt from the federal misdemeanor crime of domestic violence disqualification and therefore, must consent to a background check when purchasing firearms.  The exception to this requirement is the purchase of a duty weapon from a licensed firearms dealer on behalf of an Employer’s Certification Letter.

Is a concealed handgun permit issued in another state valid or recognized in Virginia?

States with which Virginia has entered into concealed handgun permit reciprocity agreements, or which Virginia will grant recognition, are listed on our Reciprocity and Recognition page.

Are Virginia concealed handgun permits issued to non-Virginia residents?

Virginia Code § 18.2-308.06 authorizes the issuance of concealed handgun permits to non-Virginia residents. Please refer to Nonresident Concealed Handgun Permits in this website.

The address on my Resident Concealed Handgun Permit is no longer correct. Is my permit still valid?

Yes, but you may request a replacement permit if you wish. The clerk of a circuit court that issued a valid concealed handgun permit shall, upon presentation by the permit holder of the valid permit and written notice of a change of address on a form provided by the Department of State Police, issue a replacement permit specifying the permit holder's new address. See § 18.2-308.011.

The address on my Nonresident Concealed Handgun Permit is no longer correct. Is my permit still valid?

Yes. Virginia Code § 18.2-308.06, which governs the issuance of nonresident concealed handgun permits, makes no provisions for changes of address. A permit once issued remains valid until the expiration date is met, or upon suspension or revocation, regardless of the change of address. However, the Virginia State Police will issue change of address cards upon request. Holders of nonresident permits are requested to notify the Virginia State Police, Firearms Transaction Center (FTC) in writing at P.O. Box 85141, Richmond, VA, 23285-5141 or on-line at nonrespermit@vsp.virginia.gov. Additional information is available on the Nonresident Concealed Carry page.

Are military personnel considered residents or nonresidents for the purpose of a concealed handgun permit?

Active military personnel, 21 years of age and older, assigned to a Virginia duty post or the Pentagon may apply for a Virginia resident permit, which are issued by the circuit court of the county or city in which the applicant resides. Virginia Code § 18.2-308.02 (B.5.) authorizes current military service to be considered proof that the applicant has demonstrated competence with a handgun.

I am a new resident to Virginia and possess a concealed handgun permit issued by a permit-reciprocal state.   Will my permit still be honored in Virginia?

A permit issued by a state in which Virginia has established concealed handgun permit reciprocity or recognition will be honored in Virginia as long as the permit remains valid regardless of the change of address.  It is suggested that you confirm the validity of the permit with the issuing agency in this instance.

In the instance of a traffic stop, should I advise the police officer that I have a concealed handgun permit?

Virginia law does not require you to notify the officer that you have a permit. However, § 18.2-308.01, of the Code of Virginia, requires you to be in possession of the permit whenever you are carrying a concealed handgun and to display the permit and a government-issued photo-identification upon demand by a law-enforcement officer.

What is the procedure for transferring a firearm as a gift?

Please contact the Firearms Transaction Center at (804) 674-2292.