Firearms; mental health as disqualifier for possession, etc. (SB684)

Introduced By

Sen. Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg)


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 Supreme Court of Virginia 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 or § 16.1-345.6, 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 Passed


01/07/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20104751D
01/07/2020Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
02/03/2020Reported from Judiciary (13-Y 0-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
02/04/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/05/2020Read second time and engrossed
02/06/2020Read third time and passed Senate (39-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2020Placed on Calendar
02/12/2020Read first time
02/12/2020Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/18/2020Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
02/19/2020Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (7-Y 0-N)
02/24/2020Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2020Committee substitute printed 20108753D-H1
02/26/2020Read second time
02/27/2020Engrossed by House as amended
02/27/2020Read third time
02/27/2020Passed by temporarily
02/27/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20108753D-H1
02/27/2020Engrossed by House as amended SB684H1
02/27/2020Passed House with substitute (95-Y 3-N)
02/27/2020VOTE: Passage (95-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2020House substitute agreed to by Senate (38-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2020Title replaced 20108753D-H1
03/06/2020Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB684ER)
03/06/2020Signed by President
03/06/2020Signed by Speaker
03/12/2020Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 12, 2020
03/12/2020G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., April 11, 2020
04/11/2020G Approved by Governor-Chapter 1175 (effective 7/1/20)
04/11/2020G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP1175)