Background Checks Bill Upheld by Virginia Court
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Senior Director of Law and Policy Kelly Roskam issued the following statement:
“The attempt by extremist gun groups to stop background checks was denied by a Virginia judge on nearly all counts. The people of Virginia spoke out in November, and the Democratically-led General Assembly delivered with the governor’s support. With today’s decision, the background check bill will, for the most part, remain the law of the land in Virginia thanks to the Attorney General Mark Herring’s legal defense.
“In our view, the court’s decision to exempt 18-20 year olds from background checks is wrong and should be appealed by the Attorney General’s office. There is a long history of prohibitions on purchase of handguns by persons under 21 years of age. Passed in 1968, federal law prohibits licensed dealers from selling to persons under 21 years of age. By the end of the 19th century, 19 states and the District of Columbia had enacted laws prohibiting persons under 21 years of age from purchasing or using particular firearms. Many states, including Florida, have laws putting age limits on firearm purchases today.
“Reducing access to firearms by persons under 21 is not only consistent with the Second Amendment, as other courts have found, it can also be an important tool to reduce firearm suicide, which Virginia experiences about two times every single day on average. To exempt young adults from going through a background check prior to a purchase doesn’t make any sense. We are hopeful that steps are taken to correct this through the judicial and legislative processes.
“On the whole, the judge today rejected this challenge and the background checks bill that went into effect at the beginning of this month will remain in effect and save lives in Virginia.”