In 2016, Virginia enacted a law to require a law-enforcement agency, when it confiscates a firearm or otherwise recovers a firearm, to take all appropriate steps to identify and trace the history of such firearm.1 The 2016 law also requires law-enforcement agencies and political subdivisions to share with other Virginia law-enforcement agencies all information regarding firearms seized, forfeited, found, or otherwise coming into the agencies’ possession that are believed to have been used in the commission of a crime. The agencies must enter all information into a firearms tracing system maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice.2 The 2016 law eliminated the Criminal Firearms Clearinghouse, which had been a central state-level repository for this information.
In addition to these tracing requirements, Virginia penalizes the following trafficking crimes:
- Any person who willfully and intentionally makes a materially false statement on the required firearm purchaser background check forms.3
- Any dealer who willfully and intentionally sells, trades or transfers a firearm without the required background check.4
- Any person who attempts to solicit, persuade, encourage, or entice any dealer to transfer or otherwise convey a firearm other than to the actual buyer, as well as any other person who willfully and intentionally aids or abets such person.5 Under Virginia law (unlike federal law), “actual buyer” means a person who executes the required consent form, or other such firearm transaction records as required by federal law – it does not mean the person who actually receives the gun.6
- Any person who purchases a firearm with the intent to: (i) resell or otherwise provide such firearm to any person who he or she knows or has reason to believe is ineligible to purchase or otherwise receive from a dealer a firearm for whatever reason; or (ii) transport such firearm out of the Commonwealth to be resold or otherwise provided to another person who the transferor knows is ineligible to purchase or otherwise receive a firearm.7
- Any person who is ineligible to purchase or otherwise receive or possess a firearm in the Commonwealth who solicits, employs or assists any person in purchasing a firearm for resale to an ineligible buyer.8
- Any person who obtains, possesses, sells, or transfers a fictitious birth certificate or any document for the purpose of establishing a false status, occupation, membership, license or identity for himself or herself or any other person, with the intent that such document be used to purchase a firearm.9
- Any person who intentionally removes, defaces, alters, changes, destroys or obliterates or who causes to be removed, defaced, altered, changed, destroyed or obliterated the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s or serial number, or any other mark or identification on any firearm.10 See our Trafficking & Straw Purchasing policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Va. Code Ann. § 52-25.1(a).
- Id. at (b).
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:2(K).
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:2(B), (L).
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:2(L1).
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:2(G).
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:2(M).
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:2(N).
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-204.1(C).
- Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-311.1.