Gun bust spurs call for tighter legislation in Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor is calling on lawmakers to tighten up the Commonwealth’s loose gun laws after police wiretaps caught an accused criminal saying the laws are “so little, I could give guns away.”

Ralph Northam wants to reinstate a law that limits the number of handguns a person can buy to one per month.

Bob Marcus, owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in Norfolk, told WAVY.com, “I’m sure that is not going to happen.”

Marcus has been in the gun business for nearly 50 years and he has a message for Northam: “If he wants one handgun a month, he perhaps needs to move to a state that has that law, because we did it. In spite of his statements, it didn’t work.”

In a statement released Friday, Northam said the law that ruled from 1993 to 2012 did exactly what lawmakers intended.

The Virginia Crime Commission found the law disrupted the so-called “Iron Pipeline” of weapons that flowed along Interstate 95 from Virginia to northeastern sates. Marcus sees it differently.

“We started seeing more of the business going underground,” Marcus said. “A husband would bring his wife in to buy that second gun… A nephew, a niece, a neighbor.”

Since legislators repealed the law, Virginia has again become the source of the “Iron Pipeline.”

New York authorities pointed to this as the proof earlier this week: More than 200 guns and two dozen Virginians arrested for their alleged part in getting the guns to the streets of Brooklyn.

Local men among 24 indicted in New York-Virginia gun trafficking ring

What does Bob Marcus say to that?

“Why do they have so many people up there that can’t follow the law? We don’t seem to be having this problem here in Virginia,” he said.

Not so, according to Attorney General Mark Herring.

“We can’t kid ourselves and think that these guns are only being trafficked to criminals out-of-state,” Herring said. “They’re finding their way into the hands of criminals here in Virginia, too.”

Herring is also calling on lawmakers to bring back the one gun a month law, something he says is way overdue.

The question is: Would Virginia’s legislature ever reinstate such a law? Probably not the current one.