Your wife has been trying for months to talk you out of buying your teenaged son his first handgun for graduation. She hasn’t been successful. In your family, owning your first gun is a right of passage. Your father went with you to get your first gun and his father did the same for him. It’s now your son’s turn. However, your wife did bring up a good point regarding your son’s eligibility and whether or not he can even own a gun.
Last year, due to some extremely poor choices, your son was convicted on two separate occasions of misdemeanor pot possession. Although one conviction was for synthetic marijuana and he only had to do community service, you’re still not sure if he is eligible to own a gun.
What does Virginia law say about misdemeanor convictions and firearm purchasing rights?
Eligibility Limitations for Firearm Ownership
Every state has to follow federal gun control laws when it comes to selling, purchasing and ownership of firearms. Federal law states that no one who falls into any of the following categories is legally eligible to purchase or own a handgun, rifle or firearm in the United States:
- Those convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for over one year, or state misdemeanors punishable by two years or less
- Fugitives from justice
- Unlawful users of certain depressant, narcotic, or stimulant drugs
- Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents or those committed to any mental institution
- Illegal aliens
- Citizens who have renounced their citizenship
- Those persons dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces
- Persons less than 18 years of age for the purchase of a shotgun or rifle
- Persons less than 21 years of age for the purchase of a firearm that is other than a shotgun or rifle
- Persons subject to a court order that restrains such persons from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner
- Persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
However, in addition to these federal laws, each state has its own set of purchasing laws that are unique to its territory. In the state of Virginia, according to the Virginia State Police you may be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm if you:
- are under indictment for a felony offense
- are the subject of an active misdemeanor or felony arrest warrant in any state
- have been convicted of a felony as an adult
- have an outstanding protective or restraining order against you from a spouse, former spouse, individual with whom you share a child, or someone you cohabited with as an intimate partner
- have a restraining order against you for stalking, sexual battery, alleged abuse or acts of violence against a family or household member
- have been acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity
- have been involuntarily admitted to a facility, or involuntarily ordered to outpatient mental health treatment
- have been convicted under Virginia law of two misdemeanor offenses within the last five years for possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, or any offense involving synthetic marijuana (handgun purchases only)
- have been convicted of a felony as a juvenile, but were sentenced as a minor. Offenses include murder, robbery, kidnapping, or rape (If sentenced as a minor, you are ineligible regardless of your current age and prohibited from purchasing for life, unless allowed by restoration of rights by the Governor of Virginia and order of the circuit court in the jurisdiction in which you reside)
If you are denied the right to purchase a firearm, but believe that you should be eligible, contact us today for a consultation and review of your case. You may still be able to purchase a firearm once we make sure your rights are restored under both state and federal law. Don’t allow a misunderstanding to keep you or a loved one from participating in a family tradition. Call now to see how we can help you regain your purchasing rights.
Too Much or Too Little: Your Thoughts on Virginia Gun Control
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