Pistol-Packing Virginia


ome things don’t change.

Here in gun-happy Virginia, firearms continue to flow to other states where they are used in crimes. A report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns says that of 43,254 firearms recovered in the U.S. in 2009 after having been used in crimes, 2,557 were from Virginia, making the Old Dominion the third largest exporter of such weapons behind Georgia and Florida.
The news means Virginia has dropped from the No. 2 slot but that is cold comfort. Back in 1993, when the state was the No. 1 gun exporter, the state passed a one hand-gun per month limit. But criminals easily sidestep that.
Gun advocates are kick on the draw when any kind of limitation in firearms is suggested. They claim that their Second Amendment rights are just ready to be trampled and some went so far as to spread false rumors that Barack Obama was about to introduce a massive gun crackdown, resulting in robust new sales (the sales have since calmed down after the rumor went the way of the “death panel” with ObamaCare).
But after the Virginia Tech shooting that resulted in 33 deaths and a later quadruple one near Farmville, one would think that Virginians would hear the wake up call. As Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones writes: “Right now, any criminal or individual with serious mental illness can walk in to any of dozens of gun shows that take place in Virginia every year and buy a gun without having to pass a background check.”
He notes that in 2009, more than 200 people were slain by guns and this year in Richmond alone, the toll is 25.
Mind you, Jones is mayor of a mid-sized, diverse city that has a lot of drug tracking and gang activity. It is not uncommon for parking lots near night clubs to erupt in gun fights on weekend nights. And as the experience in Farmville shows, simply being in a rural area where guns are commonly used for hunting doesn’t provide much protection or reduce much the chances of tragedy.
While first to fight for the Second Amendment, Virginia has never been so good on mental health. It is something like 49 among the 50 states in funding. The Virginia Tech shooter fell through the state’s mental health apparatus. Could be there’s a connection.
Funny thing that the people most concerned about handguns are mayors like Jones and police who often face the business end of weapons. Gun nuts typically are somewhere else as they wrap themselves up in their image of freedom and the U.S. Constitution.
No one is talking about making it impossible for sane individuals to buy rifles, shotguns or even some handguns for hunting, shooting or personal defense. But why won’t the General Assembly do something about the gun show loophole?
One reason is the unchanging political climate. We have a governor who is dead set against abortion. But he’ll let a near-retarded woman die from lethal injection. And he’ll fight for the right of a pistol-packing hombre to take his heat into a bar. Priorities?
Peter Galuszka

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9 responses to “Pistol-Packing Virginia”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Peter, if the recent execution under McDonnell's watch bothers you, what about the execution of Edward Bell under Kaine's watch? As I recall, both cases involved claims of mental retardation, but both governors permitted the executions.


  2. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Both do. I am concerned about killing the mentally retarded, especially given the state's lack of concern in this area.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Peter, I commend your consistency of position.


  4. As an admitted gun fan I still have qualms about those gun shows. I have never heard a logical argument as to why the common sense rules need to be suspended during a gun show.

    As far as I know, you have to comply with the registration requirements when you sell a car regardless of venue – new car salesroom, used car lot or private 1:1 transaction. Why do gun sales have different rules for different venues?

  5. why? Because the 2nd amendment was written 200 years ago when guns were "arms" and "well regulated militia" were the National Guards of that era.

    According to Wiki – it was in 2008 that the courts ruled that the amendment did not restrict gun ownership to the sole purposes of a well regulated militia.

    Which I find interesting when we talk about judicial activism.

    for instance, where in the Constitution does it say that citizens cannot own "arms" that are RPGs?

    and for that matter, where in the Constitution does it say that those not of sound mind cannot own guns (in theory)?

    The guns laws in this country are made up…. and yet we continue this fiction that it all emanates from the Constitution when, in fact, the laws that enumerate rules for ownership are quite arbitrary.

    So if we can "Constitutionally" decide that you cannot own arms like RPGs – how are we restricted from designating any "arm" as legal or not?

    and I ask you. I we really wanted to protect ourselves from an out-of-control despotic govt – wouldn't you want an RPG just like the insurgents in other despotic countries are allowed to own?

  6. J. Tyler Ballance Avatar
    J. Tyler Ballance

    Because there is no such thing as a gun show loophole, any more than there is a boat show loophole, or a home improvement show loophole.

    Secondary sales are private transactions, so if a private transaction happens at a trade show, or anywhere else, that sale is private, between the buyer and the seller.

    The report that you site is not accurate in that there is no delineation as to where the weapons were acquired or how far they were removed from the primary, secondary and so on , sales. All they know is that the weapon originated in Virginia at some point.

    If Virginia stopped all gun sales, would New York thugs throw-up their hands and stop shooting each other, or do you think that they would find other legal or illegal avenues?

    The fact remains that Virginia laws protect the citizens rights to acquire firearms and these laws need to be even further relaxed, not restricted.

    Why have none of the Press wags considered why Virginia sold firearms have not created crime waves here in Virginia, if the private sales of firearms are a risk? Should not their be a greater increase near the sale location, if this were indeed a valid contributing factor to those crimes?

    By the way, tell New York to keep their damned garbage and Virginia will be glad to keep our guns.

  7. Larry G Avatar

    If what Tyler says is true – then why don't other states gun sales rival Virginia's numbers ?

    Why does Va stand out?

  8. J. Tyler Ballance Avatar
    J. Tyler Ballance

    Larry: Note that the other states that are high on New York's list are on the I-95 corridor.

    Virginia used to be at the top of new York's list and now they claim we are declining as a supplier.

    What they never explain is how many hands those guns have passed through. All they know from the records, was that the original, legal sale of the weapon was in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, etc.

    They never discuss the percentage that have been stolen, or sold legitimately to third parties, then stolen or lost.

    New York has a long history of blaming the South for all of its ills; all this while they ship millions of tons of their garbage to Virginia every year.

    If the New Yorkers encouraged concealed carry permits among their law-abiding citizens, they would see a dramatic decrease in gun violence and gun crimes, as has every other jurisdiction that promoted gun ownership by the law-abiding citizens.

    Bloomberg doesn't want to offend his stoned cocktail-party supporters, so he tries to blame their crime on Southern states, rather than taking bold action that would allow the citizens to be an armed adjunct to their police.

    Everyone needn't carry a gun, just a few, so that criminals will have to consider that they just might, encounter armed resistance.

  9. well the police seem to think that more guns is not the answer.

    Are there places in the world where the "more guns" solution is demonstrated?

    Also.. are the numbers for Va significantly higher than the other southern/I-95 states or is Va just a percentage point or two about the others?

    I don't have a "liberal" stance on guns although I'm not convinced that more guns will reduce the numbers of gun killings.

    It seems to me that for every example of a law abiding person thwarting a crime because he had a gun – we have a dozen counter examples of guys killing their girl friends and kids or workplace or school place killings.

    It terms of gun killings – don't many of the victims know their murderer?

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