The Old Dominion’s firearm landscape is facing a major shakeup. The 2024 legislative session has seen a flurry of new weapons laws proposed, leaving gun owners, advocates and lawmakers locked in a heated debate.
Below is a short dive into the potential changes that could reshape Virginia weapons laws — specifically those governing firearms.
Assaulting the “assault weapon” label
The headliner is the proposed “assault firearm” ban outlined in two bills: HB2 and SB2. These bills aim to restrict the sale of certain semi-automatic firearms with specific features, like detachable magazines and pistol grips.
Proponents of the bills argue that such guns are disproportionately used in mass shootings and pose a danger to public safety. Those who oppose see the proposed changes as a Second Amendment rights infringement that unfairly targets law-abiding gun owners.
Battles beyond the ban
While the assault weapon ban is the attention-grabber, it is not the only shot fired in this legislative war. Other proposed new firearm laws include:
- SB57: Prohibits concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.
- HB318: Allows lawsuits against the firearm industry by the attorney general (and county attorneys).
- HB319: Removes NRA certifications as valid firearm training options.
It is still too early to call the winner in this legislative showdown. The bills are currently in committee hearings and public comment stages, with amendments, compromises and even rejection all possible outcomes. Stay tuned because Virginia’s gun laws are far from set in stone.
Why it matters
As a safe and responsible gun owner, you must keep up with changes in state laws — especially those involving firearms. Failure to do so could compromise your rights and even lead to weapons charges. If this worst-case scenario happens to you, legal guidance can protect your rights and help you deal with any charges you face.