RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — A judge has denied an effort from gun rights groups Thursday to block Virginia’s new one-handgun-a-month law, which passed during this year’s General Assembly session when gun control measures became the focus of the Democratic-led legislature.
A lawsuit was filed in Goochland Circuit Court nearly two weeks ago challenging the new law, which goes into effect July 1.
Pro-gun groups, including the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Gun Owners of America and Gun Owners Foundation, requested an injunction June 12 claiming the one-gun-a-month law violates the state’s constitution.
“Really pleased the judge agreed with us and denied the effort by the gun lobby to block the one-handgun-a-month law from taking effect on July 1,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who defended the measure, said after the ruling. “The judge concluded that the gun lobby had not met its burden of showing that the law was likely unconstitutional. The case authority, in my view, presents a really strong case that these laws are legal, they’re constitutional and they’re really really important.”
In April, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed multiple bills aimed at putting additional restrictions on gun purchases that were passed during the 2020 session. Legislation signed by Northam included those requiring background checks on all firearm sales, establishing a red flag law in Virginia and reinstating the state’s one-handgun-a-month policy, which ended in 2012 after being in effect for nearly 20 years.
Herring was asked outside the courtroom about the state’s enhanced background check process, which permits those who have received a certificate from Virginia State Police to be exempted from the one-handgun-a-month rule.
“The law does provide that additional handguns can be purchased if the purchaser goes through the extended background check,” Herring explained, “that provides additional information to make sure that the guns are not going to be used for a purpose that’s plainly unlawful.”