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Va. senators pitching compromise on gunshow loophole proposal

By Errin Haines,

RICHMOND - Virginia State Police would conduct voluntary background checks for private sales at gunshows in the commonwealth under a proposal introduced Thursday in the state Senate.

Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke) said he has worked on the compromise legislation for more than a week with Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) and Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin).

“This would give the opportunity and right to an individual to access the national database through the state police,” Edwards said Thursday. “The state police would set up the system ... I’ve talked to people at gunshows and they would like to have the right to access the database. But the dealers won’t do it for them, and the state police cannot under current law.”

In Virginia, federally licensed gun dealers must conduct background checks, but Virginia law does not require background checks on gun sales between individuals. Legislation that would have required anyone buying a weapon at a Virginia gun show to undergo a criminal background check was killed in committee last week.

Similar measures have failed in recent years and other gun-control bills proposed during this legislative session have also been scuttled.

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