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... (2) Safely storing and securing firearms away from children will help prevent
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Code of Federal Regulations

ATF regulations are published as Title 27, Chapter II, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) by the Government Printing Office. Consult the official legal version of 27 CFR (updated April 1 of each year) and any more recent final/interim rules to learn the requirements that apply to you.

The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) is a currently updated version of the CFR. It is not an official legal edition of the CFR. The e-CFR is an editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments produced by the National Archives and Records Administration’s Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Printing Office. The OFR updates the material in the e-CFR on a daily basis.

Current Regulations

Cross References:

Portions of Regulations in Part 478 that are no longer effective after 9/13/04

On September 13, 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Public Law 103-322. Title IX, Subtitle A, Section 110105 of this Act generally made it unlawful to manufacture, transfer, and possess semiautomatic assault weapons (SAWs) and to transfer and possess large capacity ammunition feeding devices (LCAFDs). The law also required importers and manufacturers to place certain markings on SAWs and LCAFDs, designating they were for export or law enforcement/government use. Significantly, the law provided that it would expire 10 years from the date of enactment. Accordingly, effective 12:01 am on September 13, 2004, the provisions of the law ceased to apply and the following provisions of the regulations in Part 478 no longer apply:

  • Section 478.11 — Definitions of the terms “semiautomatic assault weapon” and “large capacity ammunition feeding device”
  • Section 478.40 — Entire section
  • Section 478.40a — Entire section
  • Section 478.57 — Paragraphs (b) and (c)
  • Section 478.92 — Paragraph (a)(3) – [Note: Renumbered from paragraph (a)(2) to paragraph (a)(3) by TD ATF – 461 (66 FR 40596) on August 3, 2001]
  • Section 478.92 — Paragraph (c)
  • Section 478.119 — Entire section – [Note: An import permit is still needed pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act – see 27 CFR 447.41(a)]
  • Section 478.132 — Entire section
  • Section 478.153 — Entire section

Note: The references to “ammunition feeding device” in section 478.116 are not applicable on or after September 13, 2004.

Note: The references to “semiautomatic assault weapons” in section 478.171 are not applicable on or after September 13, 2004.

Regulatory Documents & Notices

How does ATF inform people of proposed and final changes to the regulations?

Like all Federal agencies, ATF publishes official notices of its actions in the Federal Register, a publication of the Government Printing Office. The Federal Register is published Monday through Friday (except Federal holidays), both on paper and online. Here is the address of the Federal Register online:

When you access the Federal Register online, you can search by subject or use their “Browse Feature,” to view the Table of Contents of any recent issue. Using either of these means, you can view a document as either a text file or as a PDF file, using Adobe Acrobat ®.

In addition, we place a copy of these documents on the ATF web site shortly after the Federal Register makes the documents available through their web site. When you access a notice or advance notice of proposed rulemaking on our website, you will see directions on how to submit a comment to us. You will also be able to view comments submitted to ATF via the Federal eRulemaking portal at

As part of publishing a document, the Federal Register places a copy of the manuscript “on file” in their office the day before it is printed. Members of the public may view the document at that time. Call the Federal Register for details. Their number is (202) 741-6000.

ATF Rulings

ATF publishes rulings to promote uniform application of the laws and regulations it administers. Rulings interpret the requirements of laws and regulations and apply retroactively unless otherwise indicated. Rulings do not have the force and effect of Department of Justice regulations, but they may be used as precedents. In applying published rulings, the effect of subsequent legislation, regulations, court decisions, and rulings must be considered. Concerned parties are cautioned against reaching the same conclusions in other cases unless the facts and circumstances are substantially the same.


Rulings that have an effect on previous rulings use the following defined terms to describe the effect:

AMPLIFIED is used in a situation where no change is being made in a prior published position, but the prior position is being extended to apply to a variation of the fact situation set forth in the new ruling. Thus, if an earlier ruling held that a principle applied to (A), and the new ruling holds that the same principle also applies to (B), the earlier ruling is amplified.

CLARIFIED is used in a situation where the language in a prior ruling is being made clear because the language has caused, or may cause, some confusion. It is not used where a position in a prior ruling is being changed.

DECLARED OBSOLETE is used in a situation where a previously published ruling is not considered determinative with respect to future transactions. This term is most commonly used in a ruling that lists previously published rulings that are declared obsolete because of changes in law or regulations. A ruling may also be declared obsolete because its substance has been included in regulations subsequently adopted.

MODIFIED is used in a situation where the substance of a previously published position is being changed. Thus, if a prior ruling held that a principle applied to A but not to B, but the new ruling holds that it applies to both A and B, the prior ruling is modified.

REVOKED is used in a situation where the position in the previously published ruling is not correct and the correct position is being stated in the new ruling. Rulings that have been revoked have no further effect.

SUPERSEDED is used in a variety of situations. The term may be used where the new ruling amplifies a prior ruling if both the position taken in the prior ruling and the position as amplified are contained in the text of the new ruling. The term may be similarly used where the new ruling clarifies or modifies a prior ruling. The term may also be used where, for the purpose of updating references, the new ruling does nothing more than restate the substance and situation of a prior ruling. For example, a ruling issued under former statutes and regulations may be reissued under the current statutes and regulations. Lastly, the term may be used when it is desired to republish in a single ruling a series of situations, names, etc. that were previously published over a period of time in separate rulings.

SUPPLEMENTED is used in situations in which a list, such as a list of curios and relics, is published in a ruling and that list is expanded by adding further items in subsequent rulings. After the original ruling has been supplemented to include several items, a new ruling may be published that includes the list in the original ruling and the additions, and supersedes all prior rulings in the series.

  • 2011-2 — – Locking Requirements for Outdoor Type 5 Bin and Silo Magazines
  • 2011-1 — Consolidation of Required Records for Importers
  • 2010-10 — Manufacturing Operations May Be Performed by Licensed Gunsmiths Under Certain Conditions
  • 2010-9 — Supporting Documentation for Import Permit Applications
  • 2010-8 — Consolidation of Required Records for Manufacturers
  • 2010-7 — Perforating Gun Storage
  • 2010-6 — State of Residence
  • 2010-3 — Identification of Maxim Side-Plate Receivers
  • 2010-2 — Visibility of Marks on Explosives Containers Stored in Magazines
  • 2010-1 — Temporary assignment of a firearm by an FFL to an unlicensed employee does not constitute a transfer, however, temporary assignment of a firearm to an unlicensed agent, contractor, volunteer or other non-employee is a transfer
  • 2009-5 — Firearms Manufacturing Activities – Identification Markings of Firearms
  • 2009-3 — Storage of Explosives in Law Enforcement Explosives Response Vehicles
  • 2009-2 — Firearms Manufacturing Activities – Installation of “Drop In” Replacement Parts
  • 2009-1 — Firearms Manufacturing Activities
  • 2008-3 — Electronic Version of Form 4473
  • 2008-2 — Records Required for Firearms Licensees
  • 2008-1 — Fabrique Nationale Herstal SA (FN) FNC rifle
  • 2007-4 — Alternative Methods or Procedures; Emergency Variations from Requirements
  • 2007-3 — Preloading and Temporary Storage of Blasting Agents on Bulk Delivery Vehicles
  • 2007-2 — Temporary Storage of Display Fireworks
  • 2007-1 — Maintaining Required Explosives Records in Computerized Form
  • 2006-2 — Classification of Devices That are Exclusively Designed to Increase the Rate of Fire of a Semiautomatic Firearm. The Ruling Applies to the Akins Accelerator™ and May Apply to Other Devices
  • 2006-1 — Temporary Emergency Variations from the Explosives Marking Requirements
  • 2005-4 — A ported device attached to the barrel of a paintball gun
  • 2005-3 — Meaning of Term “Inhabited Building”
  • 2005-2 — Meaning of Term “Highway”
  • 2004-5 — Minigun Ruling
  • 2004-3 — Locking Requirements for Indoor Type 4 Storage Magazines; Alternate Methods or Procedures; Emergency Variations from Requirements
  • 2004-2 — Temporary Importation of Firearms Subject to the NFA
  • 2004-1 — Transfer of Firearms
  • 2003-6 — Use of ATF Electronic eForm 6
  • 2003-5 — Distribution of Explosives to Limited Permittees
  • 2003-4 — Importation Of Sten Type Receivers For Unrestricted Commercial Sale
  • 2003-3 — Importation Of Heckler & Koch G3 Type Receivers For Unrestricted Commercial Sale
  • 2003-2 — Importation Of Fn Fal Type Receivers For Unrestricted Commercial Sale
  • 2003-1 — Importation Of Browning M1919 Type Receivers For Unrestricted Commercial Sale
  • 2002-7 — Prohibited Practices
  • 2002-6 — Identification of Firearms, Armor Piercing Ammunition, and Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Devices
  • 2002-5 — Transfer and Possession of Machineguns
  • 2002-4 — Indoor Storage of Explosives in Business Premises Directly Adjacent to a Residence or Dwelling
  • 2002-3 — Indoor Storage of Explosives in a Residence or Dwelling
  • 2001-5 — Identification of Transferee
  • 2001-3 — Importation of Surplus Military Curio or Relic Firearms
  • 2001-1 — Destructive Device
  • 97-2 — Semiautomatic firearms resembling the Browning 1919 A-4 and A-6 machineguns are “portable weapons” within the definition of “firearm” in 27 CFR § 53.11
  • 95-1 — Parts and Accessories
  • 94-6 — Tax on Use by Manufacturer, Producer or Importer of Firearms or Ammunition
  • 85-10 — Surplus Military Frames or Receivers, Alone, Denied Importation
  • 77-24 — Storage of Electric Blasting Caps with Other Explosive Materials.
  • 76-18 — Alternate bullet-resistant construction standards for explosives magazines.
  • 76-10 — One Sale with Multiple Deliveries.
  • 76-4 — Meaning of Terms, “State of Residence.”
  • 75-35 — Identification of Explosive Materials.
  • 75-31 — Meaning of Terms, “Engaged in the Business.”
  • 75-21 — Construction of Storage Facilities by the Department of Defense – Concrete Floors.
  • 75-20 — Meaning of Terms, “Inhabited Building.”


Concealed Permit:
Shall Issue to Residents and Non-Residents

Example Resident Permit:

Virginia Concealed Firearm Permit

Example Non-Resident Permit:

Virginia Concealed Firearm Non-Resident Permit

Issuing Authority:
Virginia Resident Concealed Handgun Permits are issued by the circuit court of the county or city in which the applicant resides. Please contact the applicable court for specific instruction on the application process.

Out Of State Permit Issue:
The 2004 Virginia General Assembly amended § 18.2-308, Code of Virginia, to authorize nonresidents of Virginia to apply for a concealed handgun permit. Nonresidents of the Commonwealth 21 years of age or older may apply in writing to the Virginia State Police for a five-year permit to carry a concealed handgun. The application shall be made under oath before a notary or other person qualified to take oaths on a form provided by the Virginia State Police, requiring only that information necessary to determine eligibility for the permit. If the permittee is later found by the Virginia State Police to be disqualified, the permit shall be revoked and the person shall return the permit after being so notified by the Department of State Police.

For more information and how to apply for a non-resident permit click here.

NICS check:

Permit Valid For:
5 years.

Permit Issued Timeline
The court shall issue the permit within 45 days of receipt of the completed application unless it appears that the applicant is disqualified.

Featured Virginia Firearm Instructors:

Innovative Defensive Solutions

The court shall charge a fee of $10.00 for the processing of an application or issuing of a permit. Local law enforcement agencies may charge a fee not to exceed $35.00 to cover the cost of conducting an investigation pursuant to this Code section. The State Police may charge a fee not to exceed $5.00 to cover the cost associated with processing the application. The total amount of the charges may not exceed $50.00, and payment may be made by any method accepted by the court. Out of state permits have a fee of $100.

1. Applicant must be 21 years of age or older
2. There is no requirement as to the length of time an applicant for a Concealed Handgun Permit must have been a resident or domiciliary of the county or city where he or she resides.
3. The court shall require proof that the applicant has demonstrated competence with a handgun and the applicant may demonstrate such competence by one of the following, but no applicant shall be required to submit to any additional demonstration of competence:

1. Completing any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state;
2. Completing any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course;
3. Completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Criminal Justice Services;
4. Completing any law-enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement;
5. Presenting evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or current military service or proof of an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services;
6. Obtaining or previously having held a license to carry a firearm in this Commonwealth or a locality thereof, unless such license has been revoked for cause;
7. Completing any firearms training or safety course or class conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor;
8. Completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualifying to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties; or
9. Completing any other firearms training which the court deems adequate.

Required Documents:
1. A photocopy of a certificate of completion of any of the courses or classes; an affidavit from the instructor, school, club, organization, or group that conducted or taught such course or class attesting to the completion of the course or class by the applicant; or a copy of any document which shows completion of the course or class or evidences participation in firearms competition shall constitute evidence of qualification under this subsection.
2. Completed application.
3. Fingerprint impressions

Renewal Information:
Persons who previously have held a Virginia resident permit shall be issued, upon application, a new permit unless there is good cause shown for refusing to reissue a permit. The same fees and time constraints apply in the instance of renewal.

Fingerprint impressions are not required for the renewal of an existing permit pursuant to §15.2-915.3.

Change of Address:

Informing Law Enforcement of Carry:
The person issued a permit or in possession of a de facto permit must have the permit on his person at all times during which he is carrying a concealed handgun and must display the permit and a photo-identification issued by a government agency of the Commonwealth or by the United States Department of Defense or United States State Department upon demand by a law enforcement officer.

Automobile carry:
Loaded firearms may be carried in the passenger compartment in plain view or secured in gun cases that are unconcealed; trunk transport is also legitimate for loaded firearms

Places off-limits when carrying:
§18.2-308 (O.) : Private property when prohibited by the owner of the property, or where posted as prohibited.

§18.2-283: To a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place, without good and sufficient reason.

§18.2-283.1: Courthouse.

§18.2-308.1 : School property. Exemptions to this statute include a person who has a valid concealed handgun permit and possesses a concealed handgun while in a motor vehicle in a parking lot, traffic circle, or other means of vehicular ingress or egress to the school.

§18.2-287.01 : Carrying weapon in air carrier airport terminal.

Alcohol and Drugs:
Waiting For Information. As always, alcohol/drugs don’t mix with firearms. That’s a pretty simple rule of thumb.


Deadly Force / Castle Doctrine:
Virginia is not a Castle Doctrine state and has no stand-your-ground law.


Open Carry:
Unrestricted under state law and becoming generally accepted.

Localities with Varying Laws:
The following information is provided as a general overview of various state statutes relating to firearms and other weapons.

Included herein are several statutes found in the Code of Virginia, which address transporting firearms through Virginia, as well as other related firearm laws, which may be of interest.

§ 15.2-1209.1. This section empowers the governing body of any county to adopt ordinances making it unlawful for any person to carry or have in his possession, for the purpose of hunting, while on any part of a public highway within such county a loaded firearm when such person is not authorized to hunt on the private property on both sides of the highway along which he is standing or walking; and to provide a penalty for violation of such ordinance not to exceed a fine of $100. The provisions of this section shall not apply to persons carrying loaded firearms in moving vehicles or for purposes other than hunting, or to persons acting at the time in defense of persons or property.

§ 15.2-915.2. This section empowers the governing body of any county or city to, by ordinance, make it unlawful for any person to transport, possess or carry a loaded shotgun or loaded rifle in any vehicle on any public street, road, or highway within such locality. Any violation of such ordinance shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $100. Game wardens, sheriffs and all other law-enforcement officers shall enforce theprovisions of this section. No ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall be enforceable unless the governing body adopting such ordinance so notifies the Director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries by registered mail prior to May 1 of the year in which such ordinance is to take effect. The provisions of this section shall not apply to duly authorized law-enforcement officers or military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, nor to any person who reasonably believes that a loaded rifleor shotgun is necessary for his personal safety in the course of his employment or business.

§18.2-308. Prohibits the carrying of any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material; any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack; any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart; or any weapon of like kind by any person hidden from common observance about his person. Any of the enumerated weapons shall be seized and forfeited to the Commonwealth. A weapon shall be deemed to be hidden from common observation when it is observable but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon’s true nature.

Forms & Links:
NRA-ILA: Virginia Laws
Virginia State Police: Firearms / Concealed Handguns

Virginia State Police: Forms

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