Firearm possession; involuntary commitment and restoration of rights. (HB298)

Introduced By

Del. Manoli Loupassi (R-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Involuntary commitment and restoration of firearm rights. Responds to the holding in Paugh v. Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services, Record No. 121562 (2013), in which the Virginia Supreme Court held that on appeal by trial de novo in circuit court of an order of involuntary commitment by a district court, upon the circuit court's finding that the appellant no longer meets the criteria for involuntary commitment, the proper remedy is dismissal of the Commonwealth's petition for involuntary commitment, thereby rendering the original commitment order a nullity. As such, because the original petition would in effect never have existed, forfeiture of the right to possess a firearm as required by 18.2-308.1:3 upon involuntary commitment would no longer be in effect. Section 18.2-308.1:3 requires that a person who has been involuntarily committed and seeks to have his firearm rights restored petition a district court for restoration of his firearm rights. The ruling in Paugh, by requiring dismissal of the original petition for commitment, removes that requirement even though on the date of the original commitment hearing the person did meet the criteria for commitment and was, in fact, involuntarily committed. The bill provides that notwithstanding the outcome of any appeal (trial de novo on the petition for commitment) taken pursuant to 37.2-821, the appellant shall be required to seek restoration of his firearm rights. The bill also provides that upon a finding by the circuit court that the appellant no longer meets the criteria for involuntary commitment (or mandatory outpatient treatment), the court shall reverse the order of the district court but shall not dismiss the Commonwealth's petition. As a consequence of these changes, a person who is involuntarily committed would be required to petition for restoration of his firearm rights notwithstanding the reversal of the commitment order by a circuit court. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


12/31/2013Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/14 14100114D
12/31/2013Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/10/2014Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
02/05/2014Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
02/12/2014Left in Courts of Justice