LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA –-(Ammoland.com)-On Monday, Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) filed a lawsuit in Lynchburg, Virginia, for a temporary injunction to block the universal background checks law from going into effect in the Commonwealth.
In the previous legislative session in the Democrat-controlled legislature passed sweeping gun control measures, including a universal background check law. During early 2020, Virginia became ground zero for the battle over gun rights. Over 96% of jurisdictions within Virginia have declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries with Sheriffs Jenkins of Culpepper County threatening to deputize all residents.
The lawsuit names Colonel Gary T. Settle in his official duties as the Superintendent of the Virginia Department of State Police as a defendant. The suit claims that VCDL/GOA member Raul Wilson intends to sell a firearm to Peter Elhert, another VCDL/GOA member after the law goes into effect in July. The lawsuit alleges that the mandatory background checks violate the defendants’ gun rights under Article One, Section 13 of the Virginia Constitution.
Another plaintiff in the case is Wyatt Lowman. Lowman is an 18-year-old resident of Lynchburg. In Virginia, 18-year-old residents can own and purchase handguns if they are buying it through a private non-dealer sale, but the new law requires anyone going through a background check for a handgun to be 21 years old.
The new universal background check law effectively raises the minimum age to acquire a handgun from 18 years old to 21 years old. The legislature never intended to change the age for gun ownership in Virginia, but it did through an unintended side effect.
GOA and VCDL view this stealth law change as just another overreach by a government out of touch with its citizenship.
The plaintiffs also argue the universal background check statute presumes that any and every citizen intending to buy a firearm is a prohibited person. The law puts the onus on the gun buyer to prove to the state that they are not a criminal who turns the due process clause on its head. The case argues that this requirement shifts the burden of proof from the government to the gun buyer.
The case also highlights that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is not always instant. In many instances, the Virginia State Police or the FBI delays the background check results for days. The lawsuit views these delays as an undue burden on the rights of the gun buyer and the seller.
The Virginia State Police charges a fee for each background check it performs. In addition to the state charged fee, the dealer also charges the gun buyer an additional cost. Gun rights advocate sees these fees as a charge to exercise a right.
Gun rights groups also claim that background checks lead to a gun registration. These groups then claim that these gun registrations can lead to confiscation. With anti-gun politicians clamoring for an “Australian style” confiscation, these fears seem real.
VCDL and GOA won in this same court district to reopen a Lynchburg area gun range. The two gun groups have also teamed up to sue for an emergency injunction against Virginia’s one handgun a month law.
Virginia State Police didn’t return AmmoLand’s request for comment at the time of this writing.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.