April 12, 2020

Virginia’s Red Flag Law

The Impacts of Virginia's Red Flag Law

There is no effective deterrent in the new red flag law or in Virginia’s perjury laws to stop the kind of vicious, but baseless falsehoods that will subject you to an emergency substantial risk order seizing your firearms. Anyone who has it out for you (e.g., your hostile ex-spouse, a vindictive former boyfriend or girlfriend, a fearful, gun-hating neighbor, a former employee you terminated) can initiate the red flag process – with no meaningful penalty for lying. Based on a false, but frightening allegation, a magistrate can issue an emergency substantial risk order requiring the police to confiscate your guns. You will lose your firearms to the state, literally, without any warning.

When your first opportunity to regain possession of your firearms comes up 14 days later in a hearing before a circuit court judge, will you be represented by effective legal counsel?

Will you have the support of a psychiatrist or psychologist with the gravitas needed to convince a skittish judge that the allegations against you are false and you are a threat to no one?

Will you be able to raise a constitutional challenge to the new red flag law?

If you haven’t taken steps to prepare for this kind of legal nightmare, you could easily lose your right to possess and use any firearms for many months or longer.

The key to avoid being a victim of the legal system is to prepare now.

Register for a brand new course we have developed to focus specifically on this issue – “Virginia’s 2020 Gun Control Legislation – Its Legal and Practical Effects on You.” We will get you fully familiar with the problems created by the red flag law and better enable you to respond if you get hit with an emergency substantial risk/gun seizure order.

In response to the social distancing protocols needed to limit the spread of COVID-19, the course is being offered virtually and will be taught live, in the comfort of your home, via the user-friendly Zoom online platform.

Maintain your right to keep and bear arms.

Join us Sunday, May 3, 2020 from 1:00 – 5:00 PM.


Virginia’s 2020 Gun Control Legislation – Its Legal and Practical Effects on You

Sunday, May 24, 2020
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Virtual Webinar Access – $125.00

Get prepared to deal with Virginia’s troublesome new red flag law. Get clarification on other controversial laws produced by the 2020 session of the Virginia General Assembly that are designed to interfere with and restrict your right to keep and bear arms. The course will provide a plain-spoken explanation of these new laws and will describe steps you can take to prepare for their legal and practical effects on you as a responsible gun owner.

The Legal Use of Firearms for Self-Defense in Virginia

Saturday, May 30, 2020
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Virtual Webinar Access – $150.00

If you live or work in Virginia and rely on firearms for self-defense, this course is a must. We’ll explain the lawful and unlawful defensive use of firearms and help you to stay on the right side of the law. We will also give you a practical set of guidelines and steps you can take to protect your legal rights and navigate the legal battle that inevitably follows a self-defense shooting.


While Governor Northam’s attempt to ram an assault firearms ban through the legislature was defeated in the Virginia Senate (at least for the rest of this year), the 2020 session of the Virginia General Assembly produced a number of controversial laws designed to interfere with and restrict your right to keep and bear arms.

Bills that have been enacted into law include:

  • An amendment to Virginia’s preemption law which allows city and county governments to create their own laws restricting the possession and carry of firearms in local government buildings, public parks, and recreation and community centers, and at or adjacent to certain public events.
  • A law prohibiting possession of firearms for as long as a protective order is in effect against you.
  • A red flag law that will permit issuance of “emergency substantial risk orders” – orders that will enable law enforcement authorities to confiscate your firearms without any due process protection.
  • A law prohibiting the purchase of more than one handgun in a 30-day period – but with a potentially useful list of exceptions.
  • A law raising the bar with respect to the training required to obtain a concealed carry permit in Virginia.
  • A law requiring universal background checks for all firearms sales.
  • A law making it a felony to brandish while in a group formed with intent to intimidate another person.
  • A law requiring that you report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement.
  • A law adding child day care centers and private or religious preschools to Virginia’s gun free zones.
  • A law limiting who may carry in school zones.
  • A law relating to the storage of firearms at day care facilities.
  • A law relating to access to firearms by children.
  • A law banning possession of bump stocks.

In response to these bills, Attorney Stephen L. Sulzer has developed a new course – “Virginia’s 2020 Gun Control Legislation – Its Legal and Practical Effects on You.” The course will provide a plain-spoken explanation of these new laws and will describe steps you can take to prepare for their legal and practical effects on you as a responsible gun owner. Attendees will receive a copy of Mr. Sulzer’s PowerPoint presentation along with a useful compilation of the new gun control statutes and related laws needed to understand them.

This course teaches Virginia’s legal limits on the use of deadly force in self-defense situations, with a particular focus on the use of firearms.  It will give you a working knowledge of the legal boundaries between a justifiable use of firearms in self-defense and an incident that will expose you to criminal prosecution and civil damages liability.  It will also give you a practical set of guidelines and steps you can take to maximize your chances of winning (and financially surviving) the legal battle that inevitably follows a self-defense shooting.  If you live or work in Virginia and rely on firearms for self-defense, this course is a must.

Part 1: Important Principles You Need to Know and Apply to Stay Legal in a Deadly Force Confrontation

In Part I of the course, we explain in everyday terms Virginia’s boundaries between the lawful and unlawful defensive use of firearms.  Our presentation is illustrated with useful, practical examples involving real-life situations.  We cover street confrontations, home invasions and the Castle Doctrine, Virginia’s stand your ground principle, and defending others.  We will also cover (i) troublesome new case law concerning the unambiguously life-threatening overt act which is legally required to justify a deadly force response, (ii) Virginia’s legal rules relating to threat duration and proportionality of response, and (iii) a new development in Virginia’s law regarding brandishing.  We also address whether you can still rely on prevention of an atrocious felony in Virginia to justify the use of deadly force.  We will provide you with a real-world understanding of the rules you need to know to maximize your chances of staying legal in responding to a deadly force attack.

Part 2: Vital Information Needed to Deal With the Legal Systemin the Immediate Aftermath of a Self-Defense Incident

In Part II, we describe the legal battle that follows on the heels of almost every self-defense use of firearms.  We explain each step in the post-confrontation legal process and give you a real understanding of how the system works.  We teach you how to deal with the critical time just after a self-defense incident, including:

  • 911 calls
  • Pre-arrest interaction with the police
  • When and how to assert your Fifth Amendment rights
  • What follows after an arrest

What you do in these circumstances will have a huge effect on how the legal system will treat you.  The course provides you with practical steps you should take and tools you will need to (i) protect your legal rights and (ii) help you (and your counsel) extricate you from the legal system with the least amount of difficulty.

Part II also discloses the real magnitude of your exposure in defending against criminal and civil suits, and provides detailed information about the various kinds of affordable, cost-effective insurance coverage that are available to help you financially survive a protracted legal battle.  This information is not only up-to-date, but readily understandable and reliable.

The course is presented in a seven-hour session that includes short restroom breaks and a 20-minute break for lunch.  It has been taught for five years in northern Virginia and has consistently received enthusiastic reviews from the Virginia shooting community for both its content and its straight forward, engaging presentation style.  It has become the gold standard for those who carry or rely on firearms for home security and self-defense.

Do you belong to a group that could benefit from course topics relating to the right to bear arms in Virginia? National Firearms Law Institute offers private, personalized courses for members-only organizations.

Provide added value for your members – reach out today!


See what students are saying about our flagship course

“Provided me with the info I came to learn. I really did not know what I did not know. Provided critical facts to move forward.”
Virginia Course Attendee 03/2/19
“Very realistic and professional. Steve was a very high energy, riveting speaker who made class participation comfortable and interactive.”
Virginia Course Attendee 03/2/19
“Very thorough but digestible and well presented in an easy-to-understand way. Love the background and personal expertise.”
Washington, DC Course Attendee 03/30/19
"It was very interesting, informative and eye opening."
Virginia Course Attendee
"Steve, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the class. You really opened my eyes to many things when it comes to using a firearm for self protection. This course should be adopted into obtaining a concealed carry permit at the least. Once again thanks for the class , I hope many others will take advantage of it."
Virginia Course Attendee
"Thanks. Great course. It was exactly what I was looking to take. A major part of being prepared is being informed."
Virginia Course Attendee
“It was outstanding and the information and presentation were excellent.”
Virginia Course Attendee 03/2/19
“Very knowledgeable instructor, clearly dedicated and cares about the subject matter.”
Virginia Course Attendee 03/2/19
“Tons of info. Thanks for also sending the PowerPoint. Gave me a lot of info to know in self-defense. Mr. Sulzer is extremely knowledgeable.”
Washington, DC Course Attendee 03/30/19
"This was easily the best, most comprehensive presentation on VA gun laws I’ve ever encountered. It was interesting to me when I saw the program covering 5 hours, I thought to myself – what can he possibly do to fill the time? But it wasn’t a problem!"
Virginia Course Attendee
"Thanks Steve. Great course. Very valuable. Look forward to taking the sister course soon."
Virginia Course Attendee
"Stephen, I took your course several months ago and I thought it was outstanding."
Virginia Course Attendee
“I took the recent Virginia gun control law course online from Steve. It was informative, interesting, well done, and extremely helpful for me. Steve did his usual excellent job in presenting the course, answering questions, and the four hours flew by quickly. Virginia gun owners in general would be well served to take a course like this, especially from Steve, who is an excellent presenter, who knows his subject extremely well and keeps his audience very involved.”
Virginia Gun Control Legislation Course Attendee 04/19/20
“Very good/interesting. Well worth the investment!”
Washington, DC Course Attendee 03/30/19
"Thank you so much for the class; it was both informative and fascinating."
Virginia Course Attendee
"I would like to take a moment to thank you for such an excellent legal course, the importance of these vital discussions cannot be emphasized enough (knock on the table, clap of the hand, tip of the hat)!"
Virginia Course Attendee
"I want to thank you for presenting this informative and eye-opening course and for sending the course materials. This was one of the most interesting courses I have ever taken and your interactive presentation was anything but boring."
Virginia Course Attendee
"The course was thorough, informative, and enjoyable."
Virginia Course Attendee
"Great class! Very informative!"
Virginia Course Attendee
“Eye-opening to the legal aspects of a self defense shooting. Extremely informative and specific in Virginia law. Fantastic presentation from Steve. *Every gun carrier in the Commonwealth should take this course.* Thank you, Steve!”
Virginia Course Attendee 03/2/19
“Very well done! Sending the slides provides for great review – Thanks!”
Virginia Course Attendee 03/2/19
“Very professional presentation. Very informative. Lots of great information. It’s a must if you rely on a firearm for self defense.”
Virginia Course Attendee 03/2/19
"The course was very informative. I feel better prepared now."
Virginia Course Attendee
"I found the course more than worthwhile, would recommend it, and look forward to seeing additional sessions."
Virginia Course Attendee
"I really appreciated your course last Saturday. I learned an awful lot and your presentation skills were outstanding and added to the benefits of the course for me. Thanks for doing this."
Virginia Course Attendee
"Thank you very much for the EXCELLENT class yesterday. Well worth the cost and time! We both really enjoyed it and I have already talked it up to people I know."
Virginia Course Attendee
“Your lecture style is excellent and engaging. The explanations and instructions are cogent and practical. Your expertise is self-evident.”
Virginia Course Attendee 03/2/19
"Best $150 spent."
Virginia Course Attendee
"Great class – very informative and important."
Virginia Course Attendee
"Mr. Sulzer, I very much enjoyed your lecture. It far exceeded my expectations."
Virginia Course Attendee
"Steve, that was an incredible eye opening lecture you gave today. I want to thank you for the time you spent and the genuine selfless effort you put forth for us. I could easily spend hours tapping into to the vast legal knowledge that you possess. You are a huge credit to your craft! Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you again. Thank you."
Virginia Course Attendee

Meet Your Instructor


Attorney at Law

CEO and Faculty Chairman
The National Firearms Law Institute

These courses were created and are taught by Stephen L. Sulzer, a highly-respected attorney with special expertise in firearms law and the law of self-defense in Virginia.  He is also an NRA-certified pistol instructor, has held a Virginia concealed carry permit for more than 20 years, and has ten years of competitive shooting experience. 

Mr. Sulzer has been practicing law in Washington, D.C., for more than 39 years, and has been a partner at some of the city’s most prominent national law firms, including Steptoe & Johnson and California-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.  In fall 2013, Mr. Sulzer broke away from Big Law to found his own law firm, and after much planning and preparation, expanded his practice to encompass firearms-related matters.  He is particularly focused on criminal and civil defense work for clients who have had to use firearms in self-defense.  He has also expanded into matters involving federal and state firearms regulation, as well as Second Amendment-based litigation.  Mr. Sulzer has an AV Preeminent Peer and Judicial Rating from Martindale Hubbell, the highest rating given by Martindale Hubbell for legal skills and professional ethics.  Mr. Sulzer is also pleased to have been selected as a referral attorney for both the United States Concealed Carry Association and the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network.

In 2015, Mr. Sulzer noticed there was an unfilled need in Virginia for a plain-spoken explanation of the law regarding the defensive use of firearms.  He responded by developing his two-part training course entitled “The Legal Use of Firearms for Self-Defense – When the Defensive Use of Firearms Is Permissible and How to Win the Legal Battle That Will Follow.”  For the past five years, Mr. Sulzer has taught the course regularly at the Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly (through Historic Arms Corp.’s Firearms Training Store); at Silver Eagle Group in Ashburn; at Fairfax Rod & Gun Club in Manassas; and at The Gun Dude in Falls Church. His entertaining and engaging style and high quality course content consistently receive enthusiastic reviews from the northern Virginia shooting community and the course has become the gold standard for those who carry concealed or rely on firearms for home security and self-defense.  

Most recently, in response to the Virginia General Assembly’s passage of a number of controversial gun control statutes, Mr. Sulzer developed his newest course, “Virginia’s 2020 Gun Control Legislation — Its Legal and Practical Effects on You.”  Like his Virginia law of self-defense course, this new course will be presented live online through the National Firearms Law Institute.

Mr. Sulzer has been active in the shooting sports dating back to the mid-1990s, when he began shooting service rifles in competition against the Marine Corps Rifle Teams and the Army Marksmanship Unit.  He began his competitive shooting career with the M1A and transitioned to the AR-15 in 2000. He competed in three position “across the course” iron sight matches at distances of 200, 300, and 600 yards, and has also competed at 1,000 yards.  He still shoots handguns (particularly M-1911s) avidly, has held a Virginia Concealed Carry Permit for more than 20 years, and is an NRA-certified pistol instructor.