News Column

Virginians Love Guns And Booze

Jan 8, 2013

Virginia broke two dubious records last year. Shoppers bought more liquor and guns than ever before.

There are a couple of caveats. Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control reports figures based on the fiscal year, which ended June 30. The firearms metric covers the calendar year.

Also, the gun figures represent federal background checks for purchases. Some people buy multiple guns after one inspection, some are denied the right to purchase, and many don't even go through background checks because they take advantage of the gun-show loophole.

Nevertheless, the basic fact that Virginia is setting records for booze and guns is sound.

When it comes to the liquor sales, every new record is good news for state revenue. ABC had profits of $132 million. It's hard not to be profitable when you run a monopoly. Maybe the state should cut prices a bit.

Meanwhile, gun background checks for transactions jumped more than a third from 2011 to 2012, especially in December after the Connecticut school shootings. Fear that government will impose new restrictions on firearms drove part of the increase. Official estimates pin sales at 421,000 firearms based on 321,000 background checks.

In the Venn diagram of news, we hope the overlap between these two records is nil. Lots of guns and lots of booze don't mix, not even a little.

Source: (C) 2013 Roanoke Times & World News. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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