Background Checks

Sterling Arsenal performs federal / state required background checks on all purchasers / transferees of firearms. Each background check requires completion of a federal Form 4473 and VA Form SP-65. The forms must be completed by the purchaser / transferee of the firearm(s) in person at the time of transfer.

Required Documentation

A current Primary Identification must be presented at the time of purchase of any firearm. A Secondary Identification is also required for Non-Virginia Residents transferring a Long Gun.

Primary Identification

The Primary form of ID shall consist of a current valid photo-ID form issued by a governmental agency of the Commonwealth or of the prospective purchaser or transferee’s home state that denotes the individual’s name, race, sex, address, and date of birth. Where the primary form is a photo-ID issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the dealer shall not transfer a firearm to the prospective purchaser until 30-days after the date of issue of an original or duplicate driver’s license unless a copy of his/her DMV driver’s record is presented showing that the original date of issue was more than 30-days prior to the attempted purchase.

The primary form of ID for a non-Virginia resident, for the purchase of a rifle or shotgun, must consist of a valid photo-ID issued by a governmental agency of the prospective purchaser’s home state that denote the purchaser’s name, race, sex, date of birth and address. Federal law prohibits the sale or transfer of a handgun to a nonresident of the state in which the handgun is being purchased.

Secondary Identification

The Secondary form of identification for residents of other states must show an address identical to that shown on the primary form of identification. A Social Security card is not an acceptable form of identification. Some acceptable forms of secondary ID are:

  • Concealed Handgun Permit
  • Evidence of currently paid personal property tax or real estate tax
  • Current voter registration card
  • Current automobile registration
  • Current hunting / fishing license.

Military Personnel

Active military personnel permanently stationed in Virginia (including the Pentagon) are treated as Virginia residents for the purchase of a handgun. Identification and residency are established by the following:

  • A military photo-identification card issued by the United States Department of Defense and proof that Virginia is the permanent duty station via current military assignment orders is acceptable identification and residency documentation to establish military personnel as residents of Virginia.
  • If permanently assigned to a mobile unit in Virginia, and the homeport is listed as Virginia; the transaction may be processed as a Virginia resident the same as any other permanent military assignment to Virginia supported by military assignment orders. The individual is treated as a non-Virginia resident if the homeport is listed as any place other than Virginia.
  • Individuals retired from military service are subject to the same identification and residency requirements as any other person wishing to purchase a firearm.

Lawful Alien Status

Federal law requires a transferee (buyer) who is not a citizen of the United States to provide additional identification in order to establish that he or she is a resident of a State. Such a transferee must provide a valid government-issued photo-identification that contains the buyer’s name, date of birth, and residence address. The Alien Resident identification number or INS Admission Number must be recorded on Form SP-65.

Virginia State Police Approval Required for Transfer of All Firearms
Sterling Arsenal will not transfer any firearm until Approval is received from VSP. Most background checks are approved instantly via the electronic VCheck system. Occasionally however background check approval adjudications are delayed pending further review or research. Delays can take minutes, hours, days, or even weeks depending on available resources at VSP or other circumstances. While law allows for dealers to transfer firearms if an approval is not received within 5 business days, it is Sterling Arsenal’s policy to allow whatever time is required by VSP to complete their review or research and as such Sterling Arsenal will only transfer firearms once an Approval to Proceed with a Transfer is received from VSP.