In 2016, Virginia enacted a law that prohibits individuals subject to final domestic violence restraining or protective orders from possessing firearms.1 The law states that for a period of 24 hours after being served with such a protective order, the person may continue to possess and transport any firearm possessed by the person at the time of service for the purposes of selling or transferring it to any person not prohibited from possessing the firearm.

Virginia law, however, does not:

  • Prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing firearms or ammunition (unlike federal law);
  • Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers who have become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law;
  • Prohibit individuals subject to ex parte restraining orders from possessing firearms; or
  • Explicitly authorize or require the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

Virginia prohibits anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order, including an ex parte order, from purchasing or transporting a firearm while the order is in effect.2 Such orders are available to family and household members of the abuser.3 They are also available to victims of stalking, but only if a warrant has been issued for the arrest of the stalker.4

In 2011, Virginia amended the part of this law that applies to persons subject to preliminary protective orders for the protection of a child, so that the defendant is only prohibited from purchasing or transporting a firearm if a court has made a finding of abuse or neglect.5

Any concealed weapon permittee who is the subject of a domestic violence protective order, including an ex parte order, is prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm and must surrender his or her permit to the court entering the order, for the duration of the order.6

See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.09 as amended by 2016 H 1391. ⤴︎
  2. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:4. ⤴︎
  3. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:4 (citing Va. Code Ann. §§ 16.1-253(F) and 16.1-278.2, which authorize orders to protect a child in a case of abuse or neglect, and Va. Code Ann. §§ 16.1-253.1 and 16.1-253.4, which authorize orders to protect family and household members). ⤴︎
  4. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:4 (citing Va. Code Ann. §§ 19.2-152.8, 19.2-152.9, 19.2-152.10, which authorize a protective order against stalking when a warrant has been issued for the stalker’s arrest). ⤴︎
  5. See 2011 Va. ALS 402. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎