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Gun Laws: Things More Difficult to Buy Than Guns

In Virginia it's often easier to buy a gun than to adopt a pet.

Sudafed. Booze. A cell-phone. A pet. A hunting or fishing license. These are just a few of the items harder to purchase than a gun, The Wall Street Journal reports.

President Barack Obama is leading the push for tougher gun laws, following a wake of tragedies across the country including the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary which killed 20 children and six adults. 

Vice President Joe Biden held a round-table discussion about gun violence in January at Virginia Commonwealth University, saying “we cannot remain silent” on the issue.

What changes do you think Virginia should make in it's gun laws?  Tell us in the comments.

Gun laws vary greatly from state-to-state and situation-to-situation. For example, "[f]ederal law requires that all licensed dealers conduct background checks, but the restriction doesn’t apply to private sales and some gun shows," The Wall Street Journal reports.

These are some of the gun regulations in the Commonwealth, according to the Virginia State Police website (direct quotes below).

  • With the exception of machine guns, firearms are not registered in Virginia.
  • A firearm may be carried openly in Virginia except where prohibited by statute.
  • A person must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun. To purchase a handgun from a licensed firearms dealer, you must be at least 21 years of age, pursuant to federal law.
  • Virginia law does not address age requirements for the purchase of ammunition. Federal law requires an individual to be at least 21 years of age to purchase handgun ammunition, and at least 18 years old to purchase rifle or shotgun ammunition.
  • To privately sell a firearm, it is recommended that you safeguard information pertaining to the transaction such as the date the firearm was sold, the complete name and address of the buyer, and the make, model, and serial number of the firearm. The seller and buyer of a handgun must be a resident of the state in which the transfer occurs.  Should the firearm ever be located at a crime scene, trace of the firearm will determine the licensed dealer who last sold the firearm and will identify the last buyer of the firearm. To have your name removed from this process, you may consider placing your firearm on consignment with a licensed dealer. This will also ensure that the firearm is transferred only to a lawfully eligible individual.
  • The criminal history record information check required prior to the purchase of a firearm in Virginia is accomplished by a name check in conjunction with the purchaser's race, sex, and date of birth.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), a gun rights lobby, is tracking all gun related legislation facing the 2013 General Assembly

Related Stories:

UMW helps freshman honor slain Newtown neighbors (Jan. 18, 2013)

(Jan. 15, 2013)

Letter to the Editor: Striving for What is Reasonable (Dec. 28, 2012)

Virginia Educators Rebut Governor's Interest in School Staff Carrying Weapons (Dec. 22, 2012)

Gov. Bob McDonnell Reacts to Connecticut School Shootings (Dec. 14, 2012)

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Raconteur February 14, 2013 at 12:22 PM
"In Virginia it's often easier to buy a gun than to adopt a pet.Sudafed. Booze. A cell-phone. A pet. A hunting or fishing license. These are just a few of the items harder to purchase than a gun, " HOGWASH! None of those require a background check or the information on a form 4473 (that gets kept permanently).
Daniel February 14, 2013 at 05:57 PM
IF you buy a gun through an ATF dealer, yes, you do the background check. But no waiting period. Go to a gun show, find someone who bought a table space and is selling guns from his "collection", and NO background check required. Oops, you're a felon? Well, who knows? Need a LOT of ammo? Order it on-line! Hundreds of dealers will supply you as long as your credit card holds out! Can't do THAT with alcohol, tobacco or Sudafed! Want to commit a crime with that shiny semi-auto handgun and not get bullet rifling traced back to you? Buy a new barrel for under $100 on-line and swap it out in less than 5 minutes. Serial # is not on barrel, so no one will never know! MAYBE it IS time to toughen a few of the laws! And no swine rinsing required...
Philip Van Cleave February 14, 2013 at 06:26 PM
On great way to fix our gun laws is to eliminate all "gun free zones." All such areas will be a lot safer if people can protect themselves while there. All of the high body-count massacres happen in such places. Not a coincidence.
cody February 14, 2013 at 10:08 PM
This article is hilarious! Keep believing things the media tell you....soon you'll believe Obama is king and the world revolves around his ever growing in size head. Gun laws do nothing for criminals. Period. Discussion over. The killer in newtown broke 41 gun laws... do you think the 42, 43, or the 45th would have.been the one to make him change his mind? You cannot legislate crazy. You cannot legislate the desire of a madman! Anyone who believes you can is completely controlled by the media. Can't wait till the midterms, much less the presidential election.... I see a repeat of all the mistakes Clinton made!
Elizabeth Talbot February 15, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Here's something you can do about gun violence without waiting for any laws to be passed. Don't get a gun! Especially if you are living with children or teens. The chances that you need one to deal with an intruder are very low. The chances that your children or teen will use it are much higher! The Sandy Hook massacre probably wouldn't have happened if the shooter's mother, the legal owner, didn't own the guns in the first place. She owned them because she was worried about a remote possibility, when the real danger, her emotionally unstable son, was living with her under the same roof!
T Ailshire February 17, 2013 at 12:40 AM
It amuses me that people are so certain of what happened at Sandy Hook, though few consistent details have been released and none of us, save perhaps you, know why the assailant's mother had firearms in her house or how he got them. Each individual has a different situation, thus a different method of responsibly storing, handling, and using firearms. Your blanket statement reflects a one-size-fits-all unicorn-and-rainbows solution that *might* work *IF* you could figure out how to make criminals abide by the same rules.
Susan Larson (Editor) February 19, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Via email: Susan - pretty accurate article except for the part about tracing gun ownership thru dealers. you wrote "Should the firearm ever be located at a crime scene, trace of the firearm will determine the licensed dealer who last sold the firearm and will identify the last buyer of the firearm. To have your name removed from this process, you may consider placing your firearm on consignment with a licensed dealer. This will also ensure that the firearm is transferred only to a lawfully eligible individual." That's not true - the ATF can only find the first dealer the gun was sent to from the manufacturer or importer. If they want to trace teh gun, they go to that dealer and look for the atf form 4473. If the gun is later sold thru another dealer, the ATF will have no way fo knowing this nor finding the 4473 used by that dealer to record the next sale. make sense? Mike Stollenwerk co-founder, OpenCarry.org
Susan Larson (Editor) February 19, 2013 at 03:17 PM
In response to Mike - I did not write that. It is a direct quote from the regulations posted by the Virginia State Police on their website.

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