Domestic Violence & Firearms in Virginia

Posted on January 1, 2012

Virginia law does not:

  • Prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing firearms or ammunition (unlike federal law);
  • Require courts to notify domestic abusers when they become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law;
  • Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers who have become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law; 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. It does not prohibit firearm possession by such individuals.1 Such orders are available to family and household members of the abuser.2 They are also available to victims of stalking, but only if a warrant has been issued for the arrest of the stalker.3

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.4

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.5

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

  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:4. []
  2. 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). []
  3. 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). []
  4. 2011 Va. ALS 402. []
  5. Id. []