New gun laws take effect on July 1 in Virginia

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 4:11 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Five new gun laws took effect in Virginia Thursday, and while some describe them as a necessary step forward, others call it a government overreach.

Among the laws are measures that prohibit firearms on the state Capitol grounds and surrounding areas, lengthen the amount of time the FBI has to conduct a background check and prohibit domestic abusers from purchasing, possessing or transporting a firearm for three years after their date of conviction.

Advocates of pro-gun control and pro-second amendment have divisive reactions to the new law.

“These laws are targeting law-abiding gun owners, they are not doing anything to prevent crime,” said David Adams, legislative director of Virginia Shooting Sports Association.

Adams said one of the most concerning for his organization is that firearms are prohibited near Capitol grounds. Under this law, violators are subject to seizure of their firearm and could face a class one misdemeanor along with a maximum of one year in prison and $2,500 fine.

“It is absolutely possible that a responsible gun-owner could be caught in this by accident, and it will only negatively affect us - not the criminals who won’t care,” said Adams.

However, advocates for gun control argue all of the new measures are necessary.

Lori Haas with Coalition of Stop Gun Violence one of the most important provisions is keeping guns out of the hands of those who have already been convicted of domestic abuse.

“We know these people are among the first to commit more violence, this is already a federal law,” Haas said. “However, since we didn’t have a state law for this our police officers could not enforce it, we were an anomaly and now that has been fixed.”

The General Assembly has also banned guns within 40 feet of polling places, as well as giving more power to school boards to ban firearms in school buildings. All of these measures went into effect July 1.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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