WaPo Editorial Presents Virginia as Armory for Criminals, Proposes More Gun Control As Solution

In today's print edition of the Washington Post, the top editorial, "Virginia is for gun lovers,"* attacked the Old Dominion as "one of the nation's leading gun-buying bazaars for out-of-state criminals."

"[T]he commonwealth's gun shows -- where criminals can purchase weapons without a background check -- and its gun shops are a regular source of easy-to-get firearms," the Post complained.

While there's no state requirement for purchasers at gun shows to submit to a background check, Virginia state law requires all sellers at gun shows to have undergone and passed criminal background checks and to have filed the appropriate paperwork with the state:

Any person who sells firearms at a licensed dealership or gun show must submit to a national and state criminal history records check by the Department of State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Firearm sellers must complete form SP-69A and submit a completed fingerprint card to the Firearms Transaction Center.

What's more, many gun shows employ stringent security measures and strongly encourage background checks. For example, Southeastern Guns & Knives Ltd., which runs gun shows throughout Virginia, notes that:

On-duty police officers are present throughout the show hours to answer questions, provide security, and set the tone of the show by their presence.

[...]

Typically, the state police maintain an office at each show and conduct instant background checks for the purchase of firearms. Undercover troopers usually circulate throughout the show to ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal laws.

A gun show crawling with uniformed and undercover cops? Yeah, that's precisely the place where interstate criminal gun runners love to hang out.

Towards the close of its editorial, the Post laid out its demands:

Virginia should require purchasers to obtain permits to buy handguns and allow local police the option to deny concealed-carry permits on a case-by-case basis, as about half the states do now. The state should also prohibit gun purchases by anyone convicted of a violent or threatening misdemeanor -- meaning assault, battery, harassment and stalking -- and require that gun owners report to the police when their weapons are lost or stolen. In addition, state lawmakers should allow cities and counties to adopt more stringent local weapons laws if they choose. 

Of course, even here the Post doesn't get all its facts straight. Contrary to its assertion that "about half the states" permit "local police" to veto concealed-carry permits, in truth, most states (38) have "shall issue" laws governing concealed carry, only two states (Wisconsin and Illinois) ban concealed carry and the remaining 10 states have "may issue" concealed carry, according to USACarry.com.

But why let facts get in the Post's way of hyping a "crisis" the solution for which, predictably enough, is abridgement of gun rights?

*The online edition headline reads "Gun laws make Va. a mecca for felons with credit cards."

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters