In Virginia, firearms dealers must keep the original background check consent form (required as part of every Virginia firearms sale) for at least two years, and permit certain law enforcement officers to examine and copy a form related to a particular firearm in the course of a bona fide criminal investigation.1
Every firearm manufacturer or dealer must also keep a register of all machine guns, “sawed-off” rifles and “sawed-off” shotguns manufactured, sold, loaned, given or delivered, and must on demand allow any police officer to inspect his or her entire stock of such weapons and produce the register for inspection.2
Virginia law prohibits the Department of State Police (“DSP”) from maintaining dealer background check records longer than 30 days for any request “pertaining to a buyer or transferee who is not found to be prohibited from possessing and transporting a firearm under state or federal law.”3 However, records of multiple handgun transactions must be maintained for twelve months, and the log on all background check requests (which consists of the name of the purchaser, the dealer identification number, the unique approval number and the transaction date) may be maintained for twelve months.4
In 2010, Virginia repealed a law that had allowed counties to require sellers of handguns to furnish the clerk of the circuit court “with the name and address of the purchaser, the date of the purchase, and the number, make and caliber of the weapon sold” within 10 days of any handgun sale. The new law also required the courts to destroy every record of the reports previously received.5
See our Retention of Firearm Sales and Background Check Records policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.