Questioning Gun Show Regulations & Children

Questioning Gun Show Regulations & Children

Virginia Citizens Defense League
Virginia Citizens Defense League

Covington VA –-( This might be of interest to the entire VCDL group who have children.

My 12 year old son and I attended the gun show yesterday at the Showplace in Mechanicsville.

One firearm’s dealer asked me to pick up and hand guns to my son first, before allowing him to handle guns at the show, since the ATF would be all over him in his words if the parent didn’t hand the child the gun.

I will comment that my children are always under my direct supervision when handling firearms no matter where we are.

I politely asked the firearm’s dealer to show me the written legislation in the 2nd amendment that prevents persons under the age of 18 from handling a firearm at a gunshow.

Then he switched his statement claiming that it’s Virginia law for children under age 16. I asked to see the Virginia law in writing since I’ve never heard of it. He was polite and stated that he saw it my way but he needed to comply with the ATF and VA laws. Additionally, the gun show did not have a sign at the entrance stating that children under age 16 are prohibited from handling firearms without a parent picking up the subject gun first and handing it the child.

It seems like everywhere I go, people are running their mouths and quoting laws, codes and/or ordinances to me that directly interfere with the constitution and my constitutional rights, but are unable to show me where they’re written or who authorized them. I can’t even get Eric Cantor, my elected official in the 7th District, to provide me with the written legislation that authorized the Census Bureau in 2010 to request more than the three questions that the constitution clearly dictates when conducting the 10 year census.

I would appreciate your providing clarification for me and VCDL members who have children in the updates.

Are there federal or state laws that prohibit children under the age of 16 from picking up or handling firearms at a gun show, with or without direct parent supervision?

Incidently, my son had quite a wish list by the time we left, but I doubt that would have been the case if he hadn’t handled the merchandise first!

As always, thank you for all of your hard work in running the VCDL and helping the membership with our questions and concerns.

Jim Dinger

Federal law is one problem: 18 USC 922 (x) prohibits a person under 18 years of age to possess a handgun without the prior written permission of the parent or guardian. With the parent handing the gun to the child and not the dealer, that changes the situation. Although, technically, the parent should have a written note giving themselves permission to hand the gun to the child. Hey, gun laws are mostly stupid and this is another one.

State law requires the child must be in the presence of an adult while the child is in possession of a handgun. This one is kind of sticky, too, as gun shows are not specifically listed in the exemption – just shooting ranges and firearms education class. Code section is 18.2-308.7.

Thanks to Mike Stollenwerk for his guidance on the federal code section.

Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right. Visit: