Gun-control advocates say their primary goal this legislative session is to keep firearms out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have that right. So they've revised some bills that failed last year into legislation they believe are common-sense measures which could receive bipartisan support. But the head of one gun-rights group says some of the proposals are too broad and aren’t carefully crafted.
One bill makes it a crime in most cases for a person who is not a licensed dealer to sell or transfer a firearm to someone else who’s not a licensed dealer. That would ensure that a background check accompanies all legal transactions. By doing this, it also limits Internet gun sales. Another bill is intended to prevent persons convicted of violent offenses that include misdemeanor sexual battery or domestic assault, from owning a firearm for five years. State Senator Barbara Favola is the bill’s chief sponsor.
But Phillip VanCleave, with the Virginia Citizens Defense League, says the language in that bill is too broad. He says loss of gun rights—the punishment that’s reserved for felons—could theoretically be applied to many types of misdemeanor offenses. He adds that some of the measures are redundant and already covered by federal law, which simply is not being enforced.