A question that arises quite frequently concerns the interpretation of the ‘like kind‘ language in the Virginia ban on Striker 12 Street Sweeper shotguns.

With the popularity of semi-auto shotguns such as the Saiga and Vepr 12, these questions are understandable.

Today I was asked this question yet again by a long-time client and I though the answer might be of interest to others.

His questions could be paraphrased as follows:

In a Saiga or Vepr semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun with a folding stock:

- Is it legal to use any box magazine regardless of capacity?
- Is a 10 round drum magazine allowable?
- What about a 20 round drum magazine? Since the statute specifically requires a 12 round magazine wouldn’t a 20 be acceptable?

Let’s start by looking at the applicable statute which is § 18.2-308.8 of the Code of Virginia. It reads as follows:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to import, sell, possess or transfer the following firearms: the Striker 12, commonly called a “streetsweeper,” or any semi-automatic folding stock shotgun of like kind with a spring tension drum magazine capable of holding twelve shotgun shells. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony.”

Breaking the prohibition down, we see that the ‘like kind‘ language requires that, in order to be prohibited, a firearm must be:

- A semi-auto …
- shotgun …
- with a folding stock …
- with a spring tension drum magazine …
- that is capable of holding 12 shotgun shells

Now that we have broken down the requirements, let’s answer the 3 questions above.

- Is it legal to use any box magazine regardless of capacity?

Answer: “Yes. In order to fall under the prohibition, a firearm must have a spring tension drum magazine. A box magazine would fall outside the prohibition.”

- Is a 10 round drum magazine allowable?

Answer: “Yes. A 10 round drum magazine is not ‘capable of holding 12 shotgun shells’ and therefore that configuration would fall outside the prohibition.”

- What about a 20 round drum magazine? Since the statute specifically requires a 12 round magazine wouldn’t a 20 be acceptable?

Answer: “No! The statute does not require that the magazine be exactly 12 rounds, only that it be ‘capable of holding twelve shotgun shells’, which a 20 round drum certainly is capable of. Anyone who interprets this statute to only prohibit drum magazines which hold exactly 12 rounds subject themselves to a significant risk of prosecution and conviction!”

I hope this clarifies the issue somewhat. The good news is that one can take either of these shotguns (or any other semi-auto shotgun capable of holding a drum magazine) completely out of the purview of this statute by removing the folding stock and replacing it with a fixed stock.

NOTE: This analysis governs ‘like kind‘ shotguns that are not NFA items. As I explained in this article, the Striker 12 Street Sweeper itself is now classified as an NFA item.