Virginia’s criminal background check system for gun purchases, the first of its kind in the nation, is being targeted for elimination, reports the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. Gun-rights advocates have lobbied Gov. Bob McDonnell to scrap the program, arguing that it is redundant because a federal background check system can replace it. Gun-control groups say doing so would take a valuable law enforcement tool away from state police and undermine state gun laws.
Efforts to cancel the state’s 22-year-old background check system, known as the Virginia Firearms Transaction Program, could be debated in the coming legislative Assembly session. Republicans will control state government for the first time since 2001 and a push to loosen state gun laws is expected. Some of those supporting looser controls on guns are the National Rifle Association, which has urged Virginians to lobby McDonnell on background checks, and the Virginia Citizens Defense League.