At the heart of the renewed debate is whether the gun-a-month law works.
Supporters and opponents agree that the cap reduced the number of Virginia firearms recovered and traced by law enforcement officials in cities along the East Coast.
Special Agent Michael Campbell of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives added, "Anecdotally, we've heard people we've arrested for firearms trafficking say that it was more difficult to find people to do straw purchases because they had to find more people."
Beyond anecdotes, however, it's not clear that the law reduced crime or gun-related violence, largely because there's no way to determine whether criminals simply found another way to buy guns. Tracing data, collected by ATF, offer only a limited view of the flow of firearms.
"I would say that there's suggestive evidence that the Virginia gun-a-month law did some good, but it's not determinative evidence," said Jens Ludwig, a professor at the University of Chicago.
That's the way they debate, the pro-gun crowd. If it's only "suggestive evidence," forget about it. It must be "determinative evidence." We need proof before we can accept something as crazy as the idea that a straw purchaser might be hindered and limited by the one-gun-a-month rule.
Of course, when Prof. Kleck or Eugene Volokh say that most DGUs are only brandishings of the gun, but they count towards the 2.5 million instances every year, suggestive evidence is OK.
Does it sometimes seem like the gun rights folks have a double standard?
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.