FYI note comment re: Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke in last two PP
Gun show bill dead for this year, negotiations continue
RICHMOND — Legislation aimed at closing Virginia’s so-called “gun show
loophole” won’t advance this year, but members of a state Senate committee
pledged today to work toward a compromise that could expand the use of
criminal background checks for firearms sales.
The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 8-7 today to kill legislation
(Senate Bill 1001) that was originally designed to require criminal records
checks for all firearms transactions at gun shows, including those by
private sellers. The bill was voted down after committee members on both
sides of the issue failed to cement a compromise that would enable private
sellers at gun shows to seek background checks on a voluntary basis.
Gun control advocates for years have pressed legislators to pass a law
requiring criminal records checks for all firearms sales at gun shows.
Buyers can purchase guns from private sellers at gun shows without
submitting to a criminal records check. Federally licensed dealers who sell
firearms at the same shows must conduct the checks.
Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, who initiated the efforts to work out
a compromise, promised to continue negotiations and come up with a bill for
next year. Stanley said he and other committee members had developed “a
working solution in conceptual form,” but need more time to work on the
Under the framework that Stanley described today, gun show promoters “would
create a kiosk or a desk where voluntary checks could occur.”
Stanley said the legislation won’t require private sellers to use the
background checks, but would contain incentives to encourage them to use the
system and make background checks “a normal practice.”
“I was encouraged by both sides’ willingness to sit at the table and discuss
these issues openly and try to find a solution,” Stanley said.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Henry Marsh, D-Richmond, asked the committee to
hold the bill and give members more time to work toward a compromise this
year. But the committee’s chairman, Sen. Thomas Norment, R-James City
County, insisted that the panel act on the bill Wednesday.
“I am not of an inclination to continue to drag this on,” Norment said.
Norment was the only Republican on the committee to vote for a revised
version of Marsh’s bill, which would have allowed private sellers to consign
firearms to federally licensed dealers who can access the criminal records
Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, was the only Democrat on the committee who
voted against the bill. But Edwards, who has been involved in the
negotiations, also wanted more time to work on it this year.
“I think everybody will be satisfied once this is done,” said Edwards, who
often breaks with his party on gun issues.
– Michael Sluss