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Virginia's New Universal Background Check Law Now in Effect

01/12/2021
Virginias new universal background check gun law

Since the passing of the Federal government’s Gun Control Act of 1968, the sale and/or purchase of new and used guns commercially in Virginia (and all other States in the US) has only been possible through a licensed firearms dealer.

These individuals or businesses have been thoroughly screened and approved to hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL). They are trained on the various laws as well as the extensive paperwork and record keeping requirements related to the manufacture, importation and selling firearms and ammunition commercially. This FFL license is issued by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE or "ATF"). License holders are commonly referred to as “FFL Dealers”.

Any Virginia resident that wishes to purchase a new or used firearm commercially must do so through an approved FFL Dealer. These include any gun stores, sporting goods retailers as well as home-based and online firearm dealers like K3 Armory. FFL Dealers are required to complete a criminal history background check on every prospective buyer. The purpose of which is to determine if the prospective purchaser is prohibited under state or federal law from possessing a firearm.

K3 Armory is a licensed FFL Dealer located in Chesterfield, VA and offers FFL transfer services for private party gun sales, local private-party gun purchases, person to person firearm sales, local FFL dealer transfers and background checks in the Chesterfield, Richmond, Midlothian, Chester, Powhatan, Amelia Court House and Mosley areas of Virginia.

For example, individuals with a felony conviction, an involuntary mental health committal, an active protective order for alleged abuse or violence, illegal drug user or illegal aliens can not legally buy or possess a firearm in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Are you legally allowed to purchase a firearm in Virginia? Take the Virginia State Police Firearms Purchase Eligibility Test to find out.

Prior to July 1, 2020, private sales between two parties (or unlicensed sellers) that took place locally - at gunshows, for example - did not required a criminal history background checks. This was often referred to as “the gunshow loophole”.

However, on July 1, 2020 Virginia’s new Universal Background Check law went into effect (Senate Bill 70 and House Bill 2). This law requires that if a Virginia resident who is not licensed to deal firearms (a non-FFL Dealer) wishes to sell a gun to another person — such as a neighbor or friend — a background and criminal history check must be performed on the buyer before he or she can obtain the weapon.

But these unlicensed private party sellers (who are not FFL Dealers), will likely not have the ability to conduct complete background checks on potential buyers. This leaves these private sellers with no way to confirm whether or not the person to whom they are selling the firearm is prohibited from possessing it. Indeed, many of these sellers may not even be aware of all the someone from possessing a firearm.

To solve this, as of July 1, 2020 all firearm sales, whether they are purchased from a licensed dealer or an unlicensed seller, require a universal background check. This requires that a licensed FFL Dealer like K3 Armory facilitate the transaction.

FFL facilitated sales between private individuals (aka “person to person” sales) are subject to the same rules and regulations as any other sale conducted by the FFL Dealer. In all cases, the prospective buyer must complete their required portion of a Firearms Transaction Record, ATF Form 4473.

The FFL Dealer will then conduct a background and criminal history check on the buyer. Again, the process is exactly the same as if the buyer was purchasing the firearm commercially and directly from the FFL Dealer.

Background checks will apply anytime there is a transaction made where something is being traded in value for a firearm. In other words, if a gun is being sold for money, traded for anything of value or even bartered in exchange for a service, then that background check must be conducted.

However some exemptions do apply. For example, a family member who owns an existing firearm and wishes to give it to another family member as a gift — such as a husband to his wife — will remain exempt. In this case no FFL Dealer need be involved and no background check is required.

A person who sells a firearm to another person without obtaining the required background check is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A purchaser who receives a firearm from another person without obtaining the required background check is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The average time for a background check is less than five minutes. Virginia-based FFL Dealers like K3 Armory charge a fee this FFL Transfer service. The fee is usually paid by the buyer/recipient and is paid directly to the FFL Dealer for their time and the cost they incur from the Virginia State Police to the background check system.

K3 Armory charges $17 to facilitate private party (person-to-person) transactions/background checks (available for Virginia residents only). Paid directly to K3 Armory (usually by the Buyer). We accept credit/debit cards or cash only.

Visit our Private Party Sale FFL Transfer service page to learn complete details about this process and to scheudle your transfer appointment.

The FFL Dealers will not participate in, negotiate or handle any payments between the private parties. Their purpose is simply complete the proper paperwork and run the background check ONLY. The actual exchange of funds, goods or services for the firearm being sold will still be handled privately between the Buyer and Seller - completely independent of the FFL Dealer.