New anti-gun laws in Virginia are already having an effect on would-be gun buyers with the recently enacted “one handgun per month” law. Over 1,100 people were denied gun transfers in the month of July.
Specifically, of the 1,800 denials in July, 1,102 were people looking to buy more than one handgun in a 30-day period. NBC reports that part of the reason for the high rate of denials was due to confusion over when the limit went into effect.
The law, which went into effect on July 1, retroactively applied to handgun sales during the previous 30-day period. Anyone who bought a a handgun in June would have to wait 30 days from the date of their earlier purchase before accepting a transfer in July.
“It was confusing,” said Mark Tosh, president of Town Gun Shop, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I think it caught a lot of people off guard, because everybody thought, OK July 1, and now the clock starts ticking if you buy a handgun. If I buy one July 1, then by Aug. 2, I should be fine. But nobody knew they were going to go back into June. I think that’s why you saw so many denials.”
“The vast majority of people…think that means you can buy a gun on June 30, and then buy another on July 2, because it’s one gun a month,” said Robert Marcus of Bob’s Gun Shop.
But the law says one handgun for every 30-day period. “And it’s not even 30 days, because you have to wait an additional day if the month preceding it had 30 days,” said Marcus.
Another reason for the high number of denials were people shopping multiple gun stores. “Since they didn’t take possession of a gun in my store, they figure they’re OK to make another purchase somewhere else,” Marcus said. “These people are not trying to evade the law; they simply want to make a purchase.”
Additionally, gun owners who do not complete sales are being flagged for the background check, which resets the clock another 30 days. In those cases gun dealers have to contact the police to inform them that the purchase was cancelled.
Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, said the law “prohibits someone from purchasing a handgun after June 30, 2020, if that same individual also bought one within the previous 30 days–unless the purchaser is covered by an exemption to this statute.”
Of the 1,800 denials in July, 142 people were denied sales due to criminal records and 140 were denied as users of unlawful drugs.