Assault firearms and certain firearm magazines; prohibiting sale, transport, etc., penalties. (SB16)

Introduced By

Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Springfield)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Prohibiting sale, transport, etc., of assault firearms and certain firearm magazines; penalties. Expands the definition of "assault firearm" and prohibits any person from importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting an assault firearm. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory an assault firearm to any person. The bill also prohibits a person from carrying a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities. The bill makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to import, sell, barter, or transfer any firearm magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Read the Bill »


11/18/2019: Awaiting a Vote in the Courts of Justice Committee


11/18/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20100507D
11/18/2019Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
11/19/2019Impact statement from VCSC (SB16)


Eladio writes:

This bill needs to be modified or voted down. I urge Sen. Saslaw and everyone else in the General Assembly to re-think before voting on this topic. Passing this bill as is would make felons out of thousands of Virginians. Most handguns and handgun magazines currently being sold and the thousands already in possession of law-abiding Virginians, hold more than 10 rounds, in most cases holding an average of 12-17 rounds. Moreover, it would also make the thousands of AR-type of rifles already owned by responsible and law-abiding Virginians, illegal. Thousands of Virginians use this type of rifle to hunt, to shoot at the range, and in some cases, to compete. I don't even see a grandfathering provision anywhere. I respectfully request of the Virginia General Assembly to either not pass this bill or to modify the same so as not to punish all the responsible and good-intentioned gun-owners in the state. Thank you.

Alfred Dodson jr writes:

This bill is beyond unconstitutional, it is Tyranny. Turgood Marshall, Associate Justice of the
United States Supreme Court, Oct.1969-Oct.1991 once said and I quote "The Constitution does prohibit the legislatures from enacting stupid laws.

Alfred Dodson jr writes:

SB16 is also poorly written. I can not find any legal definition of "a fixed magazine" in this bill. Is it the same definition that California uses or is it something different? In my opinion if you can't define it, then it is "vague". If it is vague it is unenforceable.

Alfred Dodson jr writes:

According to this bill if you own a firearm that is not an "assault firearm" but it has a "feature" on it that is listed under the features of an "assault firearm" then that feature is an "assault firearm". Example: If you own a bolt action rifle with a pistol grip and that pistol grip will fit on an "assault firearm" then that pistol grip becomes an "assault firearm". This is utterly ridiculous!

JoAnne Norton writes:

I commend Senator Saslaw in submitting this bill. We have a gun epidemic in this country. I suggest if people are still using AR whatever to shoot for fun and competition to do something else. The whole gun culture is not good for our present civilization.

Randy Gutenberg writes:

JoAnne Norton is on to something. First, the tens of millions of responsible, law-abiding citizens who own an AR whatever are clearly responsible for the seven instances of that weapon being used to commit mass murder. The overwhelming majority of murders involving a gun are committed with handguns, but there’s no push to outlaw the possession of handguns. Why isn’t Senator Saslaw proposing a bill to outlaw handguns? Furthermore, why are law enforcement officers exempt from the prohibition on assault weapons? If assault firearms exist for the sole purpose of killing as many people as quickly as possible, what possible use are such weapons to law enforcement officers?

Second, since the “whole gun culture is not good for our present civilization,” I would like to take this idea further. People who make public statements condemning a particular culture without any specific knowledge of that culture are even worse for our present civilization. These dangerous individuals should be removed from our communities.

Ralph Spangler writes:

This bill as already stated will immediately make felons of law abiding citizens. Since it directly targeted at a specific class of people it is illegal. Also, it is intended to do harm to this class of people as committing a felony has to be reported in certain type of work, especially with the federal government. This self-reporting would result in the loss of the ability to provide for themselves and their families, putting them in financial jeopardy, prevent them from obtaining comparable work and pay resulting in continued loss. Those who have the means would be forced to leave VA if they want to keep their firearms. Those that can afford to store their firearms in a friendly state would have continuing incurred cost. Confiscation, or turn in, would be the state seizing personal property with out compensation, which is illegal. Lastly, the possible criminal charges and subsequent imprisonments for those who are turned in resulting in continued loss.

This bill is fiscally irresponsible. Using a conservative number of 10000 assault rifles in VA and the minimum of $50000 per year for incarcerating would put a burden of $500000000 on the state. This does not include legal and processing fees. Also, facilities do not exist to house even a fraction, so more beds would need to added, that is, more prisons and more $. Even if only a fraction of the 10000 are inprisoned, that burden on the tax payers of VA would result in higher taxes.

Regarding the militia of VA, ALL PEOPLE (male and female) 16 TO 55 years of age who legally reside in VA are members of the unorganized militia. The militia may be called up at the description of the governor at any time (read the VA Constitution and subsequent laws). In the event the militia is called to defend the state, how will it do so with out the weapons that are comparable or superior to the enemy? This is the purpose of the right to keep and bear arms, to provide for the common defense. If the people cannot have the firearms themselves, then the state must have sufficient weapons to arm its citizens when called to defend.

To combat these types of ill-conceived, targeted, draconian, communistic actions, multiple actions can be taken and should. Class action lawsuit against the state of VA and Sen. Saslow, civil lawsuit, criminal charges against Sen. Saslow due to the specific targeting of a class of people, conspiracy to do harm to said class, Remove from office those that support this type of bill through the ballot. Inform the ignorant that think guns are the problem. Go on the offensive.

JoAnne Norton writes:

Mr. Gutenberg, I know the gun culture. I know of a policeman who is a relative that wanted to "carry" after the Connecticut massacre. With a three year old bouncing in and out of his arms all the time. His brother is committed to allowing firearms. His father has an old corroded pistol. We never had guns in our house except "his father" while a youngster got a beebee gun and shot a kid in the eye. The eye was saved. So the whole group in this family gets together and think and do guns all the time. THe new brother-in-law has one of those AK something and all he did was it was to pose his wife on Facebook apparently shooting it. They now have a 2 year old and I hope the mother has taken the pistol out of her pocketbook.

I know them. A neighbor of mine and her husband were gunned down last year by a young man in their house with one of the AK's. He had mental problems and his mother encouraged him. Two kids are without parents. The woman killed was not the mother of the killer.

I know guns along with 100 to 400 people who go to gun protests. The thing that drives them is the pain of that lost friend, lost relative, lost person or who has witnessed the guns going off.

Randy Gutenberg writes:

Ms. Norton, I would argue that you clearly do not know the “gun culture.” What you describe are irresponsible people who have guns, and the bill proposed by Senator Saslaw does not address the situations you described. It only criminalizes me, and others like me, because we own something that looks scary to some. This bill says nothing about irresponsible behavior or criminal activity involving guns. The proposed bill makes illegal certain features of a gun, not the guns themselves. The individuals you described in your gun culture knowledge demonstration would continue to have access to the very same firearms, except in the case of the AK, they would have to remove features that make that particular gun more accurate and controllable. It sounds to me like you wouldn’t want these gun culture people you know so well to be using guns that are difficult to fire accurately. I would like to invite you, Ms. Norton, and any of your friends and family, to spend time with the real, responsible, and overwhelming majority of gun owners I know in Virginia so that you might see that we are not a bunch of bloodthirsty psychopaths who let babies play with pistols.

P. Rose writes:

I see all these comments about guns killing people and it makes me sick, you bunch of hypocrites, let's talk about the comparison of gun deaths to the deaths of innocent babies ripped out of the womb. I put my last dollar on it that while 12 people was being killed in City Hall, that on the next block their was 50 innocent children killed in a doctor's office everyday. So don't act like you are concerned for anybody's safety. You need to get your priorities straight before you come to take my weapons. Your laws will do nothing but take a law abiding citizens right to protect their self away. Do you really think that someone torn on commiting a crime cares about your laws? Really come on people wake up.

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