Illegal gun purchase bill signed
RICHMOND -- New York City officials may have a harder time targeting Virginia gun dealers under legislation signed Friday by Gov. Tim Kaine.
Kaine signed House Bill 2653, which restricts "straw sales" of guns such as those some Virginia dealers allegedly made to undercover private investigators hired by New York City. The transactions were cited in lawsuits the city filed last year against gun dealers in Virginia and four other states alleging they sold firearms illegally. City officials have accused the gun dealers of selling weapons that later were used to commit crimes in New York.
The bill, sponsored by Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William County, prohibits anyone but law enforcement officers from trying to make an illegal gun purchase from a firearms dealer. A violation of the law would be a felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Lingamfelter said the bill will protect law-abiding firearms dealers from being targeted by someone trying to persuade them to make illegal sales.
"We can't have a situation where people are running stings just for the fun of it," said Lingamfelter, who blasted New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for going after Virginia firearm dealers.
"If Mayor Bloomberg wants to reduce crime in New York City, he might consider expanding the police force rather than trifling with the rights of law-abiding citizens," Lingamfelter said.
-- Michael Sluss