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Virginia generally prohibit any person from selling a firearm “for money, goods, services or anything else of value” unless the seller has received verification from a licensed dealer that the buyer has undergone a background check and been approved by the State Police.1 Virginia law also prohibits anyone from buying a gun without undergoing this background check. The process must conform with the process used by a dealer to perform a background check on the buyer of a firearm from the dealer’s own inventory.2

This background check requirement does not apply to the sale of a firearm to a representative of the State or a subdivision of the state as part of a voluntary gun buyback or giveback.3 A different process also applies when a firearm is sold at a gun show. For more details, see Gun Shows in Virginia.

In addition, Virginia law prohibits any person from selling, bartering, giving or furnishing, or having in his or her possession or under his or her control with the intent of selling, bartering, giving or furnishing, any firearm to any person he or she knows is:

  • A person acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services on a charge of: 1) treason; 2) any felony; or 3) certain misdemeanors;
  • Not a citizen of the United States and not lawfully present in the United States;
  • Under the age of 29 and was found guilty as a juvenile (14 years of age or older) of a delinquent act which would be a felony if committed by an adult;
  • Under 18 years of age, if the firearm is a handgun, assault firearm, or shotgun (“which will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered”); or
  • On the Virginia Voluntary Do Not Sell Firearms List. See Categories of Prohibited People in Virginia for more information.4

This prohibition does not apply if the person has had his or her eligibility to purchase or possess a firearm restored under Virginia law.5

 See our Universal Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue. 

  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:5.[]
  2. Id.[]
  3. Id.[]
  4. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:1. See also Va. Code Ann. §§ 18.2-308.2(A), 18.2-308.7.[]
  5. Id.[]