News Column

Common Wealth of Va. Works Toward Deal to Close Gun Show Loophole

Jan. 18, 2013

Todd Allen Wilson

After nixing most gun control efforts by Senate Democrats, Republicans reached across the aisle in an attempt to hammer out a deal on closing the gun show loophole on background checks for firearms purchases.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee initially approved a compromise initiated by Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, Friday on the loophole that allows private sellers at gun shows to sell firearms without requiring purchasers to undergo a background check.

Under state law only licensed firearms dealers are required to perform background checks at gun shows.

Working with Sen. Don McEachin, D-Henrico, Stanley crafted a deal that would have allowed only licensed dealers to sell guns at the shows that passed the committee 8-6, with Stanley and Sen. Thomas K. "Tommy" Norment, R-James City County crossing the aisle.

Under the compromise private sellers would have been able to consign there guns to licensed dealers.

The deal quickly fell apart as the committee reconvened on the Senate floor, after Stanley expressed misgivings about the language of the legislation.

"The language of this as it is written is so flawed and so vague it will create more problems than what we were trying to solve," Stanley told his colleagues on the committee.

Stanley said he is committed to trying to come up with a compromise and will work with Democrats over the weekend to try to come up with an acceptable deal the committee could hear on Monday.

He said one idea may be to have check-in tables where people planning on purchasing a firearm at a show could stop and get a background check before buying from an unlicensed seller.

"I'm going to be spending a lot of time with all the stakeholders on both sides of the issue to try to work something out," Stanley said. "I think if we can end this gun show loophole discussion to the satisfaction of all people then it is absolutely imperative that we do so."

Check back at dailypress.com or The Daily Press print edition for more details.

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Source: (c) 2013 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)