On February 2, 2024, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 51-49 to approve a bill prohibiting the import, manufacture, purchase, sale, and transfer of “assault firearms” and certain ammunition feeding devices. On February 7, 2024, the Virginia Senate passed a similar bill 21-19. The legislation, if reconciled and passed, and then if signed into law, would institute a series of new restrictions on semi-automatic firearms. Specifically, the bills create a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person who imports, sells, manufactures, purchases, or transfers an “assault firearm.” “Assault firearms” under this proposed new law would include semi-automatic center-fire rifles or pistols with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 10 rounds, semi-automatic center-fire rifles with any of the standard characteristics identified in restrictive jurisdictions (folding stock, pistol grip, flash suppressor, threaded barrel, etc.), typical AR and AK style pistols, semi-automatic shotguns with one of the disqualifying features (folding stock, pistol grip, detachable magazines, fixed magazines with capacity exceeding 7 rounds, etc.), and any shotgun with a magazine capacity greater than seven rounds, including pump action. The bills specify that an assault firearm does not include any firearm that is an antique firearm, has been rendered permanently inoperable, is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action, or was manufactured before July 1, 2024. As such, these bills “grandfather” all “assault firearms” made prior to July 1, 2024.

The bills place further restrictions on any person younger than 21 years of age, creating a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person younger than 21 years of age to import, sell, manufacture, purchase, possess, transport, or transfer an assault firearm regardless of the date of manufacture of such assault firearm. Thus, it appears that an 18-20-year-old who owns an “assault firearm” would have to sell or surrender it.

The bills also prohibit the sale of large capacity ammunition feeding devices, which are defined in the bill as “a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device manufactured on or after July 1, 2024, that has a capacity of, or that can be easily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition but does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept and capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.”

If signed into law, any person who willfully and intentionally (i) sells an assault firearm to another person or (ii) purchases an “assault firearm” from another person would be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any person who imports, sells, barters, or transfers a large capacity ammunition feeding device would be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, the continued sales, possession and transfers of “assault firearms” and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” that were manufactured prior to July 1, 2024, by persons 21 or older, would remain legal in Virginia.

Renzulli Law Firm will continue to monitor this legislation and other legislation and litigation concerning laws affecting the commerce in firearms. If you have any questions about the above bills or the effect they may have on selling firearms and accessories in Virginia, and the rights protected by the Second Amendment, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.