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.
In 2020, Virginia extended this law to apply to final restraining or protective orders issued against force or violence, regardless of the relationship between the victim and the abuser.2 This law also requires the court to order the abuser to surrender firearms within 24 hours to a law enforcement agency, a licensed gun dealer, or a person who is not prohibited from possessing guns, and to certify to the court that they have done so within 48 hours after being served with the order.3
Virginia law, however, does not:
- Prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing firearms or ammunition (unlike 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 the purchase or transportation (but not possession) of a firearm by anyone subject to an ex parte protective order while the order is in effect.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.
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.09.
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:4(B) (citing Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-152.10).
- Va. Code Ann.§ 18.2-308.1:4(C).
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:4(A).
- See 2011 Va. ALS 402.
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:4(A) .