Seventeen years ago, pressured by its neighbors to stem the flow of guns into the Northeast, Virginia enacted a bipartisan bill that limited the purchase of handguns to one every 30 days. Virtually overnight, experts say, the "Iron Pipeline" slowed and the number of guns used in crimes in New Jersey and traced to Virginia fell sharply.
But now a Virginia legislator wants to turn his state back into one of New Jersey’s leading arsenals. A bill proposed by L. Scott Lingamfelter, a Republican, has cleared the House of Delegates, with mostly Republican support, and is headed for the state Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. There the bill’s chances are uncertain, but if it passes, Gov. Bob McDonnell intends to sign it. Virginia’s gun-running days could be back again.
Lingamfelter, a retired Army colonel, insists Virginians’ Second Amendment rights are being restricted. The current law "rations constitutional rights," he says; "It hasn’t reduced crime. It has reduced commerce."
Lingamfelter says the National Instant Check System, which wasn’t around in 1993, can keep felons from purchasing guns. Maybe, but many of the guns that end up in New Jersey are purchased by "straw buyers" — people with valid Virginia drivers licenses who act as purchasing agents for a fee.
New Jersey officials — from U.S. senators to police chiefs — are wondering what Virginia lawmakers are thinking. In a gun-trafficking study of 2008, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that, even with the reduced flow, Virginia still ranked third among outside states providing guns used in New Jersey crimes.
Repealing Virginia’s firearm law will mean hundreds more guns on New Jersey streets each year, many married to a violent, criminal intent. To argue that the law is an onerous burden on law-abiding gun buyers is silly. Virginians can buy 12 guns a year. How many do they need?
When the "experts" say the number of guns used in New Jersey crime which were traced back to Virginia fell sharply 17 years ago with the one-gun-a-month law, I believe them. What do you think? Even if the word "sharply" is an exaggeration, the numbers had to have declined.
When L. Scott Lingamfelter says the law needs to go because it infringes the 2nd Amendment rights of Virginians, don't you think this is one of those "common sense" restrictions gun rights advocates should accept in the name of the Common Good?
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.