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Monday, December 8, 2008

Virginia Crime Commission and the Gun Show Loophole

The Virginia Crime Commission will meet tomorrow at 10:00 AM in Senate Room A at the General Assembly Building. On the agenda is discussion of possible legislation, including legislation to deal with the so-called "Gun Show Loophole." During last year's Session, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee referred Senator Marsh's perennial gun show bill to the Crime Commission for further study.

In September, the Commission took up the issue and instead of requiring private sellers at gun shows to conduct background checks on buyers, the Commission suggested that Virginia should ensure that those who should be federally licensed to sell firearms comply with the law. During the September 9th hearing, pro-gun legislators made it clear while there is no "loophole" and thus they have no interest in passing a law that closes something that does not exist, the law is unclear on who is a dealer and who is a private seller. Senator Ken Stolle of Virginia Beach suggested that a way to clear this "confusion" would be to set a threshold for the number of guns sold, to determine who escapes federal requirements.

There is no need to change the law. Setting a number of guns sold is a license to set up someone for a fall. What if a widow is trying to sell all 30 guns her deceased husband owned? If the number is set at 20 guns = a dealer, does this widow now have to get a license or run background checks on the one or maybe 30 people to whom she sells her late husband's collection?

Contact the Commission members today and urge them to not recommend any legislation dealing with this study. The members are listed below and the pro-gun members are noted.

Virginia Crime Commission Members
Delegate David B. Albo Chairman
Senator Kenneth W. Stolle Vice-Chairman8th District - pro-gun
The Honorable Robert F. McDonnell Attorney General - pro-gun
Delegate Robert B. Bell 58th District - pro gun
Mr. Glenn R. Croshaw Gubernatorial Appointee
Senator Janet D. Howell 32nd District
Delegate Terry G. Kilgore 1st District - pro gun
Senator Henry L. Marsh 16th District
Col. W. Gerald Massengill Ret. Supt. Virginia State Police Gubernatorial Appointee
Delegate Kenneth R. Melvin 80th District
Delegate Brian J. Moran 46th District
Delegate Beverly J. Sherwood 29th District - pro-gun
The Honorable Richard E. Trodden Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney Gubernatorial Appointee

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