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Howell's 'Gun Show Loophole Bill' Dies in Committee

State Sen. Janet Howell was a sponsor of bill that would demand background checks at gun shows.

A Virginia Senate bill co-sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) that would close the "gun-show loophole" allowing people to purchase firearms at gun shows without a background check died in committee Wednesday.

The committee voted 8-7 to stop SB 1001 from going forward.

Howell, whose district includes Tysons Corner and parts of Vienna and Oakton, had touted the bill in several town halls even before the session began, trying to garner public scupport.

Tighter gun control laws were also a cause she took on in last year's session.

Lawmakers were were unable to work out an acceptable compromise, even after Sen. William Stanley (R-Franklin County) said last week he would work with Sens. Henry Marsh (D-Richmond) and Don McEachin (D-Henrico) to reach a deal.

Stanley said after working since then to come up with an acceptable measure, he told colleagues on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee that while he is close to crafting a measure, he doesn't feel the details can be worked out this session, the Newport News Daily Press reported.

Stanely said he will alter the bill and present a new one next year that would be more likely to make it into law. 

Marsh's bill would have required firearms sales at gun shows to go through a licensed dealer only, but private sellers could consign their guns to those dealers.

Howell called the delay "unconscionable," the Daily Press reported.

"We've had untold tragedies that still break our hearts when we think about them," Howell said. "And yet we're letting people get guns without any background checks. It's untenable; it's unconscionable. Delaying another year makes absolutely no sense at all."

Dave January 24, 2013 at 05:03 PM
The so-called 'gun show loophole" allows in-state residents to sell to other in-state residents without a background check. It doesn't matter if it's at a gun show or elsewhere. The answer is not to have individual sellers consign their guns to licensed dealers but to have a method by which any private individual within a state could have a means to send background check info in to authorities for a private gun sale. This would require a Federal data base to approve gun sales, not the Virginia State Police, as is done now. Otherwise, gun dealers will be able to charge exhorbitant fees if all sales must go through them. Additionally, background check with the VA State Police often take hours for approval because if a buyer has ever been arrested, for whatever reason, the application is kicked out for review. The process needs streamlining. I, personally, support universal background checks but NOT using the current background check process. The FBI or ATF should be responsible for maintaining a data base for gun sales and approval (or denial) needs to be accomplished in a timely manner. Dave Vienna

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