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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    House Document No. 71

    Document Title
    Access to Juvenile Records for the Purchase of Firearms

    Virginia State Crime Commission; Virginia Commission on Youth

    Enabling Authority
    HJR 131 (Regular Session, 1992)

    Executive Summary
    During the 1992 General Assembly session, the House and Senate Rules Committees approved HJR 131, patroned by Delegate Howard Copeland of Norfolk. HJR 131 directed the Crime Commission, in cooperation with the Commission on Youth, to study the feasibility of accessing juvenile records in order to prohibit an adult who committed a felonious offense as a juvenile from subsequently purchasing a firearm.

    Commission staff worked with Delegate Copeland during the course of the study to receive patron input, and met with staff from the Department of Youth and Family Services, the Virginia Supreme Court, the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Firearms Association, Inc. Commission staff also presented progress reports on the HJR 131 study to the Virginia Commission on Youth, the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Advisory Committee, the Governor's Task Force on Violent Crime and the Interagency Records Committee.

    Daniel Phelps, Agent, Richmond Office, of the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, was instrumental in providing federal laws and regulations related to firearms purchases. Dr. John Schuiteman, of the Department of Criminal Justice Services, contributed research assistance related to federal and state firearms purchase laws. Lt. Lewis Vass provided invaluable assistance to staff in reviewing Virginia State Police criminal background check policies and procedures, and in drafting proposed legislation. The Virginia Commission on Youth offered its expertise in juvenile policy in receiving study progress reports, and reviewing and commenting on the final report and recommendations.

    Subcommittee II held three meetings to address the issues in HJR 131, and approved the subcommittee's report on October 27, 1992. The full Commission reviewed and approved the subcommittee's report, including its findings and recommendations, at its November 17, 1992 meeting.

    The findings and recommendations are as follows:

    Recommendation 1: Amend 19.2-390 to require the clerks of court of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts to forward to the Central Criminal Records Exchange the adjudications of those juveniles found guilty of the felonious offenses enumerated in 16.1-299. (NOTE: During the 1993 General Assembly session, HB 593 as amended required that the records of 15-year old or older juveniles who were adjudicated for felonious offenses would be forwarded to the Central Criminal Records Exchange. The bill was not amended to include 13- or 14-year-old juveniles who were adjudicated for one of the enumerated offenses in 16.1-299.)

    Recommendation 2: Create a new Code section requiring the Virginia State Police Central Criminal Records Exchange to lift automatically at age 29 the prohibition on the right to purchase firearms imposed on any person as a result of an adjudication for certain felonious acts as a juvenile.

    Recommendation 3: Amend 16.2-299 to require local law enforcement agencies to collect fingerprints of juveniles within the purview of this statute and forward copies to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of jurisdiction, to be forwarded with the disposition to the Central Criminal Records Exchange upon a finding of guilt by the court.

    Recommendation 4: Amend 16.1-306, the juvenile record expungement law, to allow an exception to expungement, and keep active until age 29 the records of those juveniles found guilty of the felonious offenses enumerated in 16.1-299 for the purpose of prohibiting the purchase of a firearm.

    Recommendation 5: Amend 18.2-308.2 and 18.2-308.2:1 to include persons prohibited from purchasing firearms due to a juvenile record of a felony.

    During the 1993 General Assembly session, Delegate Howard Copeland amended his carry-over legislation from 1992, House Bill 593, to substitute the proposed legislation from the Crime Commission's HJR 131 study. The bill received technical amendments, and was approved by the House and Senate. HB 593 was enrolled and sent to the Governor for signing during the 1993 legislation session.

    HB 593 amends 16.1-299, 16.1-306, 18.2-308.2, 18.2-308.2:1, 19.2-388 and 19.2-390 of the Code of Virginia. The amendments prohibit an adult from purchasing a firearm if he had been found guilty of a felonious offense while a juvenile.

    The Code sections are amended as follows:

    1. 16.1-299: Requires law enforcement officers to take fingerprints and photographs of juveniles age 15 and older who are charged with a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult.

    Requires all court clerks, including Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court clerks, to forward to the Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) the dispositional records, fingerprints and photographs of juveniles 15 and older adjudicated delinquent on the basis of an offense which would be a felony if committed by an adult.

    2. 16.1-306: A juvenile found guilty of a felonious act will not be allowed to petition for expungement of his juvenile record until he has reached the age of 29. This will allow a background check conducted for the purchase of a firearm to reveal that the adult is prohibited from purchasing a firearm until the age of 29.

    3. 18.2-308.2: Prohibits the possession or transportation of a firearm by a person under the age of 29, if he was found guilty of a felonious act as a juvenile fifteen years of age or older. However, the person may petition the circuit court for the restoration of his right to carry a firearm, which the court may grant for good cause shown.

    4. 18.2-308.2:1: Prohibits the selling of a firearm to an ineligible person, including a person adjudicated delinquent within the amendments to 16.1-299. This section also makes allowances for someone issued a special permit by the court, pardoned or who has had his political disabilities restored by the court.

    5. 19.2-388: The Central Criminal Records Exchange must maintain juvenile records separate from adult records, and must destroy juvenile records kept pursuant to 16.1-299 when the person has reached the age of 29.

    6. 19.2-390: Requires the district and circuit court clerks to report to the Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) any adjudication of delinquency based upon an act which would be a felony if committed by an adult. Also requires the court clerks to report amendments to, or reversals of, any such disposition to CCRE.