Recently, Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order that will ban firearms from most state buildings. McAuliffe is proposing a law that would require all interested gun buyers to undergo background checks to determine if the purchaser can be disqualified due to mental health issues or a criminal record. The Aug. 26 slayings of Roanoke television reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward is said to have spurred the governor into action. This latest move has once again opened the debate about gun control and the right to bear arms.
Currently, Virginia law requires all licensed gun dealers to conduct computerized background checks on buyers. However, gun sales between private citizens are exempt from background checks which some politicians say allows for guns to fall into the wrong hands. McAuliffe stated in his Oct. 15 executive order that almost 40 percent of all gun transactions are sold by private, unlicensed sellers either at gun shows or online.
This finding has been used by gun control advocates for a decade by politicians like Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine. However this research is from a 1997 study conducted by the National Institute of Justice. Earlier this year, the co-author of the study admitted that no one knows the current percentages. Yet this 40 percent figure is still preached by gun control advocates like it is an updated statistic.
So where are the updated figures on private gun transactions? The lack of updated data is due to a deficiency in federal funding for gun studies that dried up about 20 years ago. Therefore, McAuliffe’s claims of 40 percent are outdated at best and irresponsible at worst as no current national studies have been published. Perhaps politicians like McAuliffe should do more research before making executive orders that can affect the businesses of law abiding firearms providers.
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