RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After New York investigators arrested 22 suspects from Virginia in a major gun smuggling operation, Richmond's police chief is speaking out about our state's gun laws.
Chief Alfred Durham is calling for changes to current laws and looking to local lawmakers for help.
"As you saw in this case, the number of guns where people can go buy a firearm legitimately then go and sell it...that's the problem that we have," said Durham.
Brooklyn's district attorney says most of the guns in the bust were purchased in Virginia. Out of the 24 people arrested,15 are from Richmond, one from Chesterfield and one from Henrico.
On a wiretap, you can hear the man investigators identified as Antwan Walker from Highland Springs, talking about Virginia's gun laws:
"I can do that everyday, Monday through Friday...spend ten bands...and they may start looking at me but in Virginia our laws is so little, I can give guns away.."
"Mocking that, 'Hey, I can go buy ten guns a day'...that should sound the alarm to folks who have the ability to make change," said Durham.
Durham believes that change could come from state laws.
"It's bigger than the police. When you look at it, the police aren't allowing them to purchase the weapons, the system allows them," said Durham.
It's the reason he introduced Senate Bill 1185 to the General Assembly this session.
"An attempt to reduce straw purchases and the illegal transfer of weapons," said Durham.
It didn't make it through, but Attorney General Mark Herring is now calling for tougher gun laws. He says it's past time for the reinstatement of the one-gun-a-month law, which Durham says could be the start.
"I'm talking about people who go out here and have people purchase firearms and commit violent crimes against the citizens of the City of Richmond...that's what I'm concerned about," said Durham.
Durham did say that violent crime is down one percent in Richmond and the department will stay committed to cutting down on violent crime through working closely with the community.
Governor Terry McAuliffe shared his thoughts on this issue on Twitter, saying "Gun runners love VA's lax gun laws. Let's pass background checks & one handgun a month and put them out of business."
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