Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty. (HB2)

Introduced By

Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston) with support from co-patron Del. Vivian Watts (D-Annandale)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Firearm sales; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm sale and directs the Department of State Police (the Department) to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a background check from licensed firearms dealers. A person who sells a firearm to another person without obtaining the required background check is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill also provides that a purchaser who receives a firearm from another person without obtaining the required background check is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary. The bill also provides that the Department shall have three business days to complete a background check before a firearm may be transferred. This bill incorporates HB 355 and is identical to SB 70. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


11/18/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20101194D
11/18/2019Referred to Committee on Public Safety
11/21/2019Impact statement from VCSC (HB2)
01/17/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB2)
01/24/2020Reported from Public Safety with substitute (13-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)
01/24/2020Committee substitute printed 20106617D-H1
01/24/2020Incorporates HB355 (Kory)
01/27/2020Impact statement from VCSC (HB2H1)
01/28/2020Read first time
01/29/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB2H1)
01/29/2020Floor substitute printed 20106943D-H2 (Fariss)
01/29/2020Incorporates HB355 (Kory)
01/29/2020Read second time
01/29/2020Passed by temporarily
01/29/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20106617D-H1
01/29/2020Committee substitute reconsidered
01/29/2020Substitute by Delegate Fariss out of order 20106943D-H2
01/29/2020Pending question ordered
01/29/2020Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB2H1
01/30/2020Impact statement from VCSC (HB2H2)
01/30/2020Read third time and passed House (54-Y 46-N)
01/30/2020VOTE: Passage (54-Y 46-N) (see vote tally)
01/31/2020Constitutional reading dispensed
01/31/2020Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
02/05/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB2H2)
02/24/2020Reported from Judiciary with substitute (9-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2020Committee substitute printed 20108950D-S1
02/25/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020Impact statement from VCSC (HB2S1)
02/26/2020Read third time
02/26/2020Reading of substitute waived
02/26/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20108950D-S1
02/26/2020Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB2S1
02/26/2020Passed Senate with substitute (23-Y 17-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2020Placed on Calendar
02/28/2020Senate substitute rejected by House 20108950D-S1 (1-Y 98-N)
02/28/2020VOTE: REJECTED (1-Y 98-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2020Senate insisted on substitute (22-Y 16-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2020Senate requested conference committee
03/03/2020House acceded to request
03/03/2020Conferees appointed by House
03/03/2020Delegates: Plum, Hope, Fariss
03/04/2020Conferees appointed by Senate
03/04/2020Senators: Petersen, Deeds, Obenshain
03/05/2020Conference report agreed to by House (50-Y 45-N)
03/05/2020C Amended by conference committee
03/05/2020Conference report agreed to by House (51-Y 45-N)
03/05/2020VOTE: Adoption (51-Y 45-N) (see vote tally)
03/05/2020Reconsideration of conference report agreed to by House
03/05/2020Conference report agreed to by House (54-Y 44-N)
03/05/2020VOTE: Adoption #2 (54-Y 44-N) (see vote tally)
03/07/2020Conference report agreed to by Senate (23-Y 16-N) (see vote tally)
03/10/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB2S1)
03/18/2020Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB2ER)
03/18/2020Signed by President
03/19/2020Signed by Speaker
03/20/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB2ER)
03/20/2020Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on March 20, 2020
03/20/2020G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., April 11, 2020
04/10/2020G Approved by Governor-Chapter 1111 (effective 7/1/20)
04/10/2020G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP1111)


JoAnne Norton writes:

This bill is long overdue. However, a comment on another bill introduced states that AR whatever rifles are still used in competition. If they are used in competition, they are around in our environment and in houses.

patrick shipley writes:

this puts us on the road to confiscation. A horrible bill

Phil Steinschneider writes:

The RAND Corporation did a study on background checks, analyzing other studies. It found that background checks had an inconclusive effect — they might decrease suicide and violent crime.

This begs the question: If current background checks show no measurable effects, how are universal background checks expected to make any difference?

Commonsense would seem to dictate that background checks would have a major effect, but they do not. This means the idea of performing background checks in the first place is a panacea. It makes people feel that they’re doing something while also causing the following problems:

1. Presumption of innocence. A background check requires people to prove they’re innocent before they take ownership of a firearm. Doesn’t this violate a basic American premise — the presumption of innocence?

2. Malum prohibitum. Background checks are part of a trend in which laws are created to prevent things from happening by making something illegal by statute instead of punishing actual behavior. Eventually, everything will be prohibited by statute because every action can be potentially malicious.

3. Nationalization of gun ownership. If universal background checks are implemented at the federal level, this puts the government into everyone’s home. When one wants to dispose of private property -- one's firearm -- one can longer do so without asking permission from the government. This makes every gun the property of the state and is questionable constitutionally. It also brings into question the constitutionality of universal background checks at the state level.

4. Unenforceability without universal registration. In order to trace a firearm from its manufacture all the way to its latest destination, every transfer would need to be documented along the way (universal registration). That would be the only manner in which to verify whether or not someone had transferred the firearm to someone in a private transaction without a background check. Today, once a firearm leaves a licensed dealer and goes to a private citizen after a NICS (National Instant Check System), the trail goes cold.

5. Uselessness. Nearly every mass shooting and nearly every crime in the US was committed with a firearm purchased after a background check, with a gun acquired via a straw buyer, on the black market, or stolen.

Background checks are already a solution in search of a problem. Universal background checks are a problem in search of a problem that would lead to even bigger problems and restrictions of our rights.

Mike writes:

This bill is simply a Trojan horse for registration, which is an essential tool for confiscation backed under unconstitutional bills like SB16.