What impact will new laws have on Virginia gun owners? Here's a breakdown.

Posted at 11:10 AM, Jul 01, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- Several new laws and bans impacting guns in Virginia went into effect on Monday, July 1.

Two new laws include a ban on unregistered auto sears (also known as Glock switches) and the altering or removing of a serial number from a firearm that is serialized.

“[The laws are] merely duplicate federal law at the state level and have no practical effect on lawful gun owners,” Philip Van Cleave, president of Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), said.

Dana Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said their concern is not “lawful gun owners."

"Our concern is criminal use of auto sears to basically allow criminals to very easily create a mass shooting event,” Schrad said.

Auto sear "is a combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger," according to a document from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

At a CBS 6 town hall, Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards called Glock switches one of the department’s biggest challenges when dealing with city shooters.

Stop the Violence Town Hall July 2023

“We never know with criminals whether these kinds of changes in the law actually have a deterrent effect. What it does help is in investigation. It helps in being able to charge someone who uses something like this to create basically a weapon that would allow for a mass shooting event to be very successful,” Schrad said.

Lucia’s law, named for 13-year-old Lucia Bremer, a Henrico girl who was murdered by another teenager, also goes into effect on Monday, July 1.

Prosecutors said that the convicted teenager had documented mental health issues.

The third law (Lucia’s law) specifically deals with a parent who knows or should know that their child is a danger to himself/herself or to others because the parent has been officially notified by a school that their child has been deemed dangerous, or that child has charges pending, has been found guilty, or adjudicated delinquent of a violent juvenile felony, according to VCDL.

Schrad said Lucia’s law is impactful in several ways as she noted a nationwide trend in holding adults accountable when children gain access to a firearm.

A teenager killed their daughter. Now they want Virginia law to hold parents accountable.

“One of the great factors here is that this law now provides an opportunity to be an educational deterrent, and a warning to parents that they are going to be held accountable,” she said.

VCDL was neutral on those three bills, as worded when signed by the Governor [Glenn Youngkin], Van Cleave wrote in a statement.

On March 26, the Bremer family applauded state leaders for taking action after their advocacy and the death of their daughter.

“We know that nothing will bring back our Lucia, so the work of parenting her has shifted to telling her story and advocating for change so that we can make Virginia a safer place,” said Jonathan and Meredith Bremer. “This legislative change was necessary and important. We appreciate the wide bipartisan support it received, and we are grateful that the Governor chose to sign Lucia’s Law on this, the third anniversary of her murder.”

Depend on CBS 6 News and for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews



Watch 'The Jennifer Hudson Show' weekdays at 3 p.m. on CBS 6!

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.