Governor Vetoed Senator Boysko’s Safe Storage of Firearms Bill

'Locking up guns when children are present prevents needless tragedies'


RICHMOND, VA – Today, the Governor vetoed Senator Jennifer Boysko’s (D-Fairfax) Senate Bill 368, requiring any person who possesses a gun in a residence to store their firearm safely whenever they know a minor or other person prohibited from accessing a firearm is present.

The bill also requires firearm dealers to post a notice stating such safe gun storage requirements and the penalty for improperly storing such firearms, which the bill sets as a Class 4 misdemeanor.

“The Democrats in the General Assembly stood up for families and so have the gun violence prevention groups who have spent years fighting to protect our children. Know this - there will be children lost to gun violence as a result of the Governor’s veto. Gun violence is the number one cause of death for children and teens,” said Senator Boysko. “Locking up guns at home saves lives - the data shows that it will reduce suicides, school shootings, and accidental shootings. These are preventable injuries and deaths.”

Lori Haas, a longtime advocate for commonsense gun violence prevention laws, spoke out in favor of this legislation.

“I have fought for years to prevent firearm injury and death of children from unsecured firearms. This bill does exactly that – if your gun is not on your person while in the home, it must be locked up. We want to keep our children safe from firearms; apparently, the Governor does not," Haas said. 

Kris Brown, President of Brady criticized the governor for his action in blocking the legislation.

“The Governor’s veto of this common sense and life-saving bill undermines the safety and well-being of our children. It is not an overstatement to say that this bill would have saved the Commonwealth from so much senseless loss and tragedy. Every single day 8 children and teens are killed by an improperly stored firearm in the home. The vast majority of firearms used in unintentional shootings, school shootings, and suicides by minors are acquired from the home, or the homes of friends or relatives. Responsible gun ownership begins with safe storage of firearms and Virginians could have had peace of mind knowing our children were safer, instead, the Governor chose inaction."

Sean Holihan, State Legislative Director for Giffords spoke out as well.

 “Safe storage laws are commonsense and save lives. Governor Youngkin has put the will of the gun lobby above Virginians' lives by vetoing this bill," said Holihan. 

Approximately one in three US households contains at least one firearm. In those households with children, one in five gun owners stores at least one of their firearms loaded and unlocked whereby any minor could easily gain access.

 “I ask that gun owners take advantage of Virginia’s tax credit for gun safes, including biometric safes, of up to $300. Most gun safes cost far less. Don’t let a preventable tragedy change your family forever," said Senator Boysko. 

Senator Jennifer Boysko (D-38) has served 9 years in the VA General Assembly. She is a committed advocate for the safety, health, and well-being of all Virginians. Her legislative efforts are characterized by a dedication to creating meaningful change and addressing the pressing issues facing the Commonwealth today.


Senate Bill 368 passed narrowly in the Senate and then in the House. The issue remains sharply divided and the governor used his veto power to make up for where the Republican representatives fell short in their opposition to the bill. 

Storage of firearms in a residence where a minor or person prohibited from possessing a firearm is present; penalty. Requires any person who possesses a firearm in a residence where such person knows that a minor or a person who is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm is present to store such firearm and the ammunition for such firearm in a locked container, compartment, or cabinet that is inaccessible to such minor or prohibited person. The bill provides that a violation is a Class 4 misdemeanor. The bill exempts (i) any person in lawful possession of a firearm who carries such firearm on or about his person and (ii) the storage of antique firearms and provides that the lawful authorization of a minor to access a firearm is not a violation of the bill's provisions. The bill also requires firearm dealers to post a notice stating such firearm storage requirements and the penalty for improperly storing such firearms. This bill is identical to HB 183.

SB 368 Firearms; storage in residence where minor or person prohibited from possessing is present, penalty.

log in | tally sheet
floor: 02/01/24  Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (21-Y 19-N)

YEAS--Aird, Bagby, Boysko, Carroll Foy, Deeds, Ebbin, Favola, Hashmi, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, McPike, Pekarsky, Perry, Roem, Rouse, Salim, Subramanyam, Surovell, VanValkenburg, Williams Graves--21.

NAYS--Craig, DeSteph, Diggs, Durant, French, Hackworth, Head, Jordan, McDougle, McGuire, Mulchi, Obenshain, Peake, Pillion, Reeves, Stanley, Stuart, Sturtevant, Suetterlein--19.

RULE 36--0.


SB 368 Firearms; storage in residence where minor or person prohibited from possessing is present, penalty.

floor: 02/21/24  House: VOTE: Passage (51-Y 49-N)

YEAS--Anthony, Askew, Bennett-Parker, Bulova, Callsen, Carr, Clark, Cohen, Cole, Convirs-Fowler, Cousins, Delaney, Feggans, Gardner, Glass, Hayes, Helmer, Henson, Hernandez, Herring, Hope, Jones, Keys-Gamarra, Krizek, Laufer, LeVere Bolling, Lopez, Maldonado, Martinez, McClure, McQuinn, Mundon King, Price, Rasoul, Reaser, Reid, Seibold, Sewell, Shin, Sickles, Simon, Simonds, Srinivasan, Sullivan, Thomas, Torian, Tran, Ward, Watts, Willett, Mr. Speaker--51.

NAYS--Arnold, Austin, Ballard, Batten, Bloxom, Campbell, Cherry, Cordoza, Coyner, Davis, Earley, Ennis, Fowler, Freitas, Garrett, Gilbert, Green, Griffin, Higgins, Hodges, Kent, Kilgore, Knight, Leftwich, Lovejoy, Marshall, McNamara, Milde, Morefield, Oates, Obenshain, O'Quinn, Orrock, Owen, Phillips, Runion, Scott, P.A., Tata, Taylor, Wachsmann, Walker, Ware, Webert, Wiley, Williams, Wilt, Wright, Wyatt, Zehr--49.



Learn more about gun safety in Virginia here. 

Senator Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, Senate Bill 368, gun safety, Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, Governor Youngkin, Democrat, Republicans, Virginia state laws, gun violence, gun safety bill, gun safes