Updated: Circuit court upholds one-gun-a-month law

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Update: Thursday, 5:38 p.m. Judge Timothy K. Sanner in Goochland Circuit Court denied the gun lobby’s attempts to block Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law from going into effect on July 1.

In the ruling, Sanner found that the gun lobby was unlikely to succeed in convincing the court that the law was unconstitutional.

“I am really pleased that the judge agreed with me today and rejected the gun lobby’s attempt to block the one-handgun-a-month law. Currently, Virginia is one of the easiest states in the country for gun traffickers to purchase large numbers of firearms to resell on the street, and we can’t allow that to continue,” Attorney General Mark Herring said. “Virginia had a one-handgun-a-month law in effect for nearly twenty years that was extremely successful in keeping firearms out of our communities and out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

“Virginians sent a clear message last November that they were ready for gun reform in the Commonwealth and the General Assembly delivered. Too many Virginians have lost their lives at the end of a gun and we cannot allow this status quo to continue. As Attorney General, my top priority is keeping Virginians, their families and their communities safe, which is why I am prepared to use every tool at my disposal to make sure that all of Virginia’s new gun violence prevention measures go into effect.”

 

Original story: Thursday, 8:44 a.m. Attorney General Mark Herring is defending two of Virginia’s new gun violence prevention measures, the one-handgun-a-month law and extended background checks, in court against the gun lobby.

These measures, as well as the other gun safety laws that the General Assembly passed this year that are set to go into effect on July 1, have repeatedly been deemed constitutional by courts both at the state and the federal levels.

“These gun violence prevention laws were passed to make Virginians, their families and their communities safer and I will make sure that they go into effect next week,” said Herring. “Virginians voted for gun safety back in November because they were tired of the status quo and they were tired of losing loved ones to guns. Each of these laws is entirely constitutional and I look forward to defending them in court against the gun lobby’s attacks.”

Herring filed a brief in a lawsuit filed by the gun lobby in Goochland Circuit Court challenging the new “firearms trafficking prevention law” that “is exactly the kind of common-sense ‘law[] imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms’ that is entirely consistent with the constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.”

Herring argues that the one-handgun-a-month law “strikes a reasonable balance between the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms and the Commonwealth’s legitimate interest in stemming the flow of handguns that can cause violence, bloodshed, and heartbreak in communities across Virginia and the East Coast when they are illegally sold, trafficked, stolen, or otherwise put into the hands of dangerous individuals.”

Additionally, earlier this week, the gun lobby filed a lawsuit in Lynchburg Circuit Court challenging Virginia’s expanded background checks.

This year, the General Assembly passed historic gun safety legislation that Herring fought for during his time both as a state senator and as attorney general. In addition to reinstating the one-handgun-a-month law, the legislation included universal background checks, an Extreme Risk Protective Order, a mandate to report a lost or stolen firearm, among others.

         
 

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