03 December 2019

Proposed Firearms Laws (Virginia) - Illegal Firearms

Day three of looking at the bills which several members of the Virginia General Assembly have proposed become laws restricting firearm ownership and use. From the Senate there are Bills 12, 14, 16, 18, and 22 from Senator Saslaw; 13 and 15 (Senator Ebbin); 35 (Senator Surovell); 51 (Senator Spruill); 67 (Senator McClellan); 69 (Senator Locke); & 70 and 71 (Senator Lucas).  From the House there are Bills 2 (Delegate Plum) and 9 (Delegate Bourne). As stated previously, I know that's a ton of bills; I expect many to fail, get changed, get merged, etc. Generally, I would wait until the actual laws have been passed. However, because of the great amount of interest I'm going to look at these as they are in their larval bill state.

Illegal Firearms: This comes from SB16, proposed by Senator Saslow. It's a fairly sweeping change in the definitions of what firearms are illegal.

Assault Firearm: 18.2-308.8

This statute currently only makes the Stryker 12 "Streetsweeper" shotgun illegal. If the bill passes as written, it will create a class of firearms known as "assault firearms" and those will be illegal to possess.

Rifles and Pistols

To begin with, nothing in this statute has anything to do with revolvers. So, if you're sporting the Dirty Harry Special (.44 Magnum) you don't own an "assault firearm."

For both rifles and pistols, this is about all about firearms with either detachable or fixed magazines. Detachable magazines are self explanatory, but there's no definition in the statute for a "fixed" magazine. The common sense definition for this would be a firearm with an internal storage capacity. However, after doing some research, apparently this also means a semi-detachable magazine. As best I can tell, this would mean that the magazine cannot be ejected as normal by simply hitting a button on the side of the firearm and letting the magazine fall out. Instead, the magazine is held in place until a tool is used to remove it or the magazine is held in place until the rifle is broken open.

Under subsections (A)(1) and (3), if your "fixed" magazine is limited to ten rounds, there are no limitations as to what modifications you can do to your rifle or pistol or what cool stuff can be attached to it.

Subsections (A)(2) and (4) set out a two part test to declare a rifle or pistol an "assault firearm."

1.  Does the firearm have the ability to accept a detachable magazine?"


2.  Does it have any single one of the following?

Folding / Telescoping StockFolding / Telescoping Stock
Thumbhole StockThumbhole Stock
A Handgrip for Non-Shooting HandA Handgrip for Non-Shooting Hand
Bayonet MountCapacity for a Non-Handgrip Magazine
Grenade LauncherA Shroud to Protect Non-Shooting Hand
Flare LauncherWeighs 50 oz. or more
SilencerThreaded Barrel which can attach
Flash Suppressor     ~ Silencer
Muzzle Brake     ~ Flash Suppressor
Muzzle Compensator     ~ Barrel Extender
Threaded Barrel which can attach
the last four items
     ~ Forward Handgrip
Anything similar to the aboveAnything similar to above

There's a fair bit of the above that's humorous. Interestingly, your pistol can have a silencer, flash suppressor, and barrel extender as long as it doesn't screw on. Human ingenuity being what it is, I would expect clips or something similar to fill that gap. Or the pistol could simply be built with them. Are bayonets a serious issue? I don't remember hearing bayonets were a serious issue at any of the shooting events and mainly it's been a reason to make fun of USA Today for thinking AR-15 owners use chainsaw bayonets: "Sometimes I think the gun rights crowd is too hard on the media, and then I see stuff like this." I did learn some new things looking through this. I didn't know there were civilian models of M203's and when I looked up thumbhole stocks for pistols, certain that was a ridiculous idea, I got introduced to the concept of AR-15 pistols which apparently can have such a stock; it seems like a stupid concept, but it's a concept.


Under subsection (5) you cannot have a shotgun "with a revolving cylinder" which I'm pretty sure is supposed to cover the Striker 12 and its knockoffs.

Subsection (6) sets out a two part test to declare a shotgun an "assault firearm."

1.  Is the shotgun semi-automatic?


2.  Does it have any single one of the following?

Folding / Telescoping Stock
Thumbhole Stock
Pistol Grip 
Detachable Magazine
Fixed Magazine Over 7 Rounds
Anything Similar to the Above

Parts are a Firearm  - Any parts that can be used to change a firearm into an assault firearm or which can be assembled into an assault firearm are an assault firearm.


1.  Rendered permanently inoperable.

2.  Antique.

3. Curio or Relic.

More Posts about the Firearm Proposals

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