Mr.Sloth1. I am familiar with Virginia law
2. I have plenty of experience handling/shooting firearms, this would be the first that I would own. I have no interest in owning a 22. I don't intend to "plink" (although I plan on putting quite a few rounds through it). I'm buying this for home defense. (inb4 BUY A SHOTGUN- I plan on purchasing one as well).
3. I've seen them... they didn't jump out at me during my search. But I'll take a 2nd look.
How familiar are you with the AR platform? Its a lot more cost effective to build one versus buy one. I would not go Bushmaster or DPMS. DPMS is notoriously known for producing sub par "mil-spec" components. If your budget allows, I would be looking at Spikes, Mega, Stag, Noveske, YHM, etc and making it a custom rifle.
This being said - if you'd prefer to purchase one outright, I personally would look for one without a chrome lined barrel. It's argued that chrome lined barrels are less accurate, but easier to clean and sustain rapid fire better over time. I prefer to shoot stainless barrels.
Another suggestion would be to see if you can find one with a 14.5" barrel thats been pinned to 16" (for legality.) If the main purpose of this rifle is for home defense, it may serve you better to have as compact a rifle as possible.
PM me if you have any questions, comments, etc. I build AR's in my spare time so I might be able to help you
your just lucky your not me. i forget what i'm talking about mid sentence..... it's entertaining... - bombin_baker*