Virginia prohibits any person under age 18 from knowingly and intentionally possessing or transporting a handgun or assault firearm, or a shotgun “which will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered,” anywhere in Virginia.1 This section does not apply to any person:
- While in his or her home or on his or her property or in the home or on the property of his or her parent, grandparent, or legal guardian;
- On another person’s property if he or she has the landowner’s written permission on his or her person while on such property, and his or her parent or legal guardian has granted permission;
- Who, while accompanied by an adult, is at, or going to and from, a lawful shooting range or firearms educational class, provided that the weapons are unloaded while being transported; or
- Actually engaged in lawful hunting or going to and from a hunting area or preserve, provided that the weapons are unloaded while being transported.
Virginia law also prohibits anyone from furnishing a handgun to a person under age 18, having good cause to believe that he or she is a minor. This rule does not apply to a transfer made between family members or for the purpose of engaging in a sporting event or activity.2
There is no minimum age to purchase or possess rifles in Virginia.
Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.
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- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.7. In addition to other criminal penalties, a court that has found a child at least 13 years of age guilty of the unlawful use or possession of a handgun or a “Striker 12, commonly called a ‘streetsweeper'” must order that the child be denied a driver’s license. Va. Code Ann. § 16.1-278.9. The denial of driving privileges shall be for at least 30 days, except when the offense involves possession of a concealed handgun or a striker 12 or any semi-automatic folding stock shotgun with a spring tension drum magazine capable of holding 12 shotgun shells, in which case the denial of driving privileges shall be for two years unless the offense is committed by a child under the age of 16 years and three months, in which event the child’s ability to apply for a driver’s license shall be delayed for a period of two years following the date he reaches the age of 16 and three months. Id.
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-309. See also Va. Code Ann. § 1-207 (defining “minor”).