Circuit Court Judge Upholds Background Check Legislation

A circuit court judge has upheld a new law passed this year requiring background checks on all gun sales in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The legislation was already a compromise with folks who oppose reasonable reforms to help end gun violence as most Virginians wanted the legislation to require background checks on all transfers of guns, even if the transaction wasn’t technically a sale.

It should be noted that the ruling comes from a judge in Lynchburg, which isn’t exactly what most people would consider a hotbed of liberal activism. It therefore carries some weight in showing that the new laws are simply a way to respect the 2nd Amendment while also ensuring criminals aren’t able to acquire dangerous weapons.

Since the federal background check system doesn’t allow checks on people under the age of 21, however, the judge did rule that the law could be applied to 18 to 20 year olds who are interested in purchasing weapons. In his opinion, Judge F. Patrick Yeatts wrote that “although the Act is facially constitutional, the Commonwealth is currently unprepared to administer it in a way that does not infringe on the right of adults under 21 to purchase a handgun, the ‘quintessential self-defense weapon.’”

The VCDL, an extremist group whose members have made death threats against those who support reasonable efforts to end gun violence, was one of the plaintiffs in the suit and is claiming the exemption as “a victory for now for VCDL.”

Perhaps wanting to keep their members agitated, however, they did warn their members to “stay tuned” as “that could change.” It’s with that in mind they’re also encouraging folks to attend local government meetings and speak out against any attempt to help end gun violence at the local level.

As we’ve seen gubernatorial candidates right here in Virginia carrying weapons of war while attending rallies with white supremacists, it’s clear small victories like this ruling are important ways to deal with the epidemic of gun violence our country’s facing.

About Bryan J. Scrafford

Bryan Scrafford grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC and stayed in the region for both college and his professional life. An avid baseball and hockey fan, Bryan's also involved with several advocacy organizations fighting for economic justice, LGBT rights, and other issues. You can follow him on twitter at @bscrafford and Instagram at @bjscrafford
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