HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Virginia State Police had its first run at conducting background checks for private gun sellers at a gun show at Richmond International Raceway. In eight hours, state police personnel said they ran three checks at the Showmasters Gun Show on Saturday.
The bipartisan bill partly aimed at closing the so-called “gun show loophole” went into effect July 1.
Virginians who want to privately buy or transfer a firearm at a gun show in the state can request a criminal background check on the buyer. State police will be available at every firearms show in Virginia to conduct those checks.
The law is completely voluntary. Private seller Mike Dohman said he’s a responsible seller and won’t sell to someone who he fears shouldn’t possess a gun.
“I always ask for proper ID or a voter ID card or a concealed weapons permits,” Dohman said. “That ensures they’re not a felon.”
Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran also attended the gun show to oversee the first day the law was put into action.
“We have tried for mandatory background checks for years, unsuccessfully,” Moran said. “This is a significant step. Most Virginians agree that criminals should not possess firearms.”
A Christopher Newport University surveyed voters earlier this year who said 88 percent of Virginians support these background checks.
Licensed dealer Jerry Cochran, who owns Trader Jerry’s, said he supported the new law.
“I’ve never sold a gun without a background check since it existed,” Cochran said. “I can`t imagine why someone wouldn`t want another procedure to legally transfer their gun to another individual in Virginia.”
State law requires federally licensed dealers to conduct criminal background checks on buyers.
The new voluntary private seller background checks cost $2 and takes less than five minutes.
Also signed into law is Virginia will recognize all valid concealed handgun or concealed weapon permits and licenses issued by other states, according to Virginia State Police. The bill also made it unlawful for any person who is subject to a domestic violence permanent protective order to possess any firearm while the order is in effect.
The gun show at the raceway is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.