Gun Show Debate in the Valley

By: James Jackson Email
By: James Jackson Email

Virginia lawmakers are working to create legislation that would require background checks at gun shows.

Lee Kern has been involved in gun shows for more than 16 years as an attendee and now attendant. He shares an opinion with others at the gun show in Rockingham County who are familiar with the ongoing gun show loophole debate.

Those in favor of the legislation say there should be background checks for people who purchase guns at these kinds of shows.

"I think that requiring a background check on a personal transaction between two individuals, neither of which are federally licensed, is kind of an invasion of them being able to trade their own personal property," says Kern.

State Senator Emmett Hanger says there is no loophole and the 2nd Amendment right of Virginians needs to be protected.

"We can better keep firearms out of the hand of people who are predisposed to violence. I think that's a legitimate conversation. All I'm saying is the conversation needs to be a whole lot broader than what is referred to as the gun show loophole," says Hanger.

Those in favor of the loophole cite the tragedy at Virginia Tech as the main reason to meet certain criteria. In several published reports, Governor Tim Kaine has spoken openly in favor of closing the loophole.

He says, "I'm going to be very aggressive. One thing you can count on, that bill will be introduced."

Several visitors to Sunday's gun show agree on one thing.

"I think it's definitely a place where the government doesn't need to stick their nose," says Kern.

One of the gun show promoters says 95 percent of the sellers at this particular show do require background checks. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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