Buying a gun is taking longer and longer these days, here in the Old Dominion.  What’s the hold up?  It seems that gun sales are up in Virginia.  However, there are fewer state and federal employees to do that background checks.  According to the Richmond Times Dispatch:

The Virginia State Police, the agency that administers the checks, acknowledges that there has been an increase in processing time.

Officials say it is tied to increased demand for firearms at the same time that budget and funding constraints have reduced the number of staffers available to handle the transactions.

Spokeswoman Corinne Geller said that since May 2009, the agency has lost 11 people from its 28-person staff at the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center, including two federally funded full-time workers who used to attend gun shows and conduct the computerized checks on-site.

She said the delays during peak periods can take four to six hours, with a few that require research into out-of-state records taking overnight.

So how many of the people who are grousing and grumbling were also those same people who advocated for smaller government and to cut back state spending? 

Apparently some people find the state of the state unacceptable:

“This is not acceptable,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the pro-gun nonprofit group, Virginia Citizens Defense League.


Van Cleave had more to say:

Van Cleave said the delays are costing dealers money and keeping firearms out of the hands of people who need them.

“It is a safety issue,” Van Cleave said. “A person experiencing a death threat and who is denied a lawful gun purchase overnight would be left helpless at the hands of an assailant.”

He said he has received reports of dealers at gun shows losing up to half their business because purchasers’ background checks have not been completed by the time the show closes.

“We cannot afford to have our dealers weakened by artificially sagging sales and purchasers unreasonably inconvenienced,” he added.

Everyone seems to think their issue is more important than someone else’s. We need more cops, more library staff, more teachers, more magistrates, judges, clerical workers in the Bureau of Vital Statistics, more DMV employees. Too many people are hollering less government but are not willing to make the sacrifices needed. Cutting spending involves us all. Government waste is never in the area of our favorite thing to do. It is always in someone else’s camp.

I would prefer to pay more taxes and have restrooms and shorter lines. Throw in a sunset clause to 2 to get us over the hurdle. When those screaming less taxes and less government wake up to the realization that goods and services cost money and that government employees aren’t the ugly step children of private industry, then perhaps we can stop looking like an underpaid third world nation.

Meanwhile, the gun buyers will just have to suck it up and wait in line longer like everyone else is having to do. I hope they will be right out there leading the charge to raise taxes to pay for the goods and services we need to operate as a state. Should I be holding my breath?

58 Thoughts to “The Gun Conundrum”

  1. PWC Taxpayer

    Interesting note and I think its true… VMI cadets dress grey. VaTech’s Corps of Cadets dress blues – VMI existed before the war and reflect the common american state militia uniform (which is also why the 7th NY wore grey with white buck at 1st Manassas) while the VTCC cadets trace to 1872 and therefore wear blue.

    West Point cadets also wear grey dress uniforms – I understand for two reasons, first in honor of an 1816 battle in Canada led by Winfield Scott and because they were not Regular Army until graduation.

  2. @marinm
    When I think “psych exam,” I think of screening for things like schizophrenia, anti-social personality disorder, bi-polar disorder, clinical major depression, ADHD, things that impact daily behavior…..serious, not Freudian conditions : )

    We all have “issues.” But if a person has a condition–a true illness–that affects the ability to handle a weapon, then that person should NOT be handling a weapon which is used for maiming or killing whether justifiable or not.

    I am glad you brought up the military discriminating against people who sought therapy, and I am glad that trend is changing slowly. How can you have healthy soldiers if you don’t help keep their minds healthy? Seems silly to encourage getting drunk over venting to a therapist, for example.

  3. I stand corrected on the drive through tax in Prince William County. Where did that tax come from? I sure don’t recall hearing about it. Thanks George. I went to McDonalds just for you today.

  4. marinm

    lol.. nice.. Freudian conditions.

    Ok, so lets assume people have to get screened. Whos gonna do it? The dealer? A govt doctor that’s paid to hang out at a gun shop? Do you have to take a buying permit to your Primary Care Physician and have him ‘write a note’ (England does that btw). Where do we mark the line?

    And, how does this stop those gang bangers from getting guns? I mean, I understand that in Washington DC you need the police departments permission to purchase a gun — how is that gotten them a lower crime rate than Virginia. Note. It hasn’t.

    That liberals or pinkos (shouts out to Posting As Pinko) or minorities have guns doesn’t bother me in the slightest (but man does it irk off the NAACP to have blacks armed…don’t believe me, look at the legal filings in Heller and McDonald). I want everyone that wants to have guns to have ’em. In my utopia babies will be born owning a .22 rifle and a .22 handgun and get an ammo stipend each birthday.

    One can dream, right?

    MH, yah it sucks about that tax, eh? I don’t know the %age of the tax nor when it passed. I only figured it out one day when I *looked* at a receipt and saw it. My instant thought was to fire everyone on the BOCS that voted for it.

  5. I have contacted several people in the county and oddly enough, they have told me that there is NO drive through tax. They say we are being robbed. I did see it at McDonalds. Where else has it? It does say TAX doesn’t it?

    I think the BOCS is innocent on this one.

  6. marinm

    Hrm. Sounds like we need to get the Attorney General involved. I think I’ll hit McDonald’s tommorow to look at a receipt again.

  7. I’m not going to comment on the financial aspect on this one. Others have done more research. I’m going to address the need for a background check and ownership by “the criminal class” after release from prison.

    The NICS checks are considered necessary by many to prevent unauthorized citizens from acquiring firearms. Now, in addition to felonies, misdemeanor spousal abuse, and treatment for some forms of mental incapacity, the government wants to add that those whose name is listed on the secret no fly list be prevented from firearm ownership. However, very few of those prevented from acquiring weapons by this check, INCLUDING FELONS, have been prosecuted. What is the purpose of the check? To prevent OWNERSHIP of a firearm.
    14 million checks were conducted last year from licensed dealers. In 2007, the number of background checks totaled since inception: 69.5 million, with the number of checks rising every year. In 2002, the government reported that 563,000 gun purchases were prevented, SINCE THE PROGRAM STARTED. And this does not mean that the purchasers were actually prevented from acquiring firearms by other means.

    Does that sound like its actually affecting criminals?

    Virginia has very good gun laws. Virginian citizens are, unlike in many other states, have few restrictions on gun ownership. Those illegal guns that New York’s mayor, Bloomberg loves to rant about also includes common self defense guns that are in a citizen’s home and not used in a crime. It is almost impossible to acquire firearms in Massachusetts, New York, or New Jersey. Possession alone puts you in jail.

    Restrictions of any sort can be dangerous when applied to emergency equipment. And a person seeking a self defense item needs it as soon as possible. NOW would be best. Now, a few hours at peak times can be inconvenient. But, how about the person that has a marijuana bust from the 70’s or that person that sought help for depression and was put into a hospital years ago and was successfully treated, etc., and now, cannot buy a gun? And their ex-spouse has said in no uncertain terms that violence WILL be committed.

    Is that fair? Is self defense only for some people? Even ex-murderers, or other violent felons that have done their time may need a weapon for self defense. If a criminal is considered too dangerous to own a weapon, then that criminal should not be out of prison. If a mentally ill patient is considered to dangerous to have a weapon, or to incapacitated, they should not be out of a hospital. Furthermore, how would one enforce this if said person already owned firearms and became sick? ADHD was mentioned as a possible condition to prevent ownership. Why? And who decides which mental condition is dangerous enough to restrict freedoms. Now, one thing that can be done for felons, is that procedures for returning rights could be simplified. But, until that time, shouldn’t the state be responsible for that person’s safety? Should POSSIBLE misuse of an inanimate object restrict the rights of citizens?

    Ownership of a firearm should not be a crime. Firearms are inanimate pieces of steel and plastic. Proper use of a firearm by anyone may be necessary to protect life and liberty. Misuse of the right to bear arms should entail swift prosecution, and then hard time. Either decades in prison, no parole, or capitol punishment. If rapists, murderers, etc, are too dangerous, sentencing laws should be changed to reflect that.

    It is the use of firearms that can be restricted, not the possession. Improper use endangers us all. Some compromise could be possible if this was the emphasis of the law. From an excerpt from Reason Magazine at GunCite (

    “We allow the state to regulate the time, place, and manner of speech, or acts (like burning one’s draft card) that are heavily laden with speech-like (that is, communicative) content–but we allow this regulation only subject to an all-important qualification. It must not discriminate on the basis of a communication’s content, and it must be no more expansive than necessary to accomplish its purpose.

    Regulating the speech of Democrats more restrictively than that of Republicans, or allowing anti-abortion posters in a certain public place while forbidding abortion-rights posters, would not be regulation that was neutral in its attitude toward a constitutionally protected value. It would be censorship–a pretextual act inherently hostile toward that value. Even formally neutral regulation could disclose such hostility if it exceeded what was necessary to accomplish a proper purpose. For example, if a municipality banned all public speech whatsoever to preserve public peace and quiet (in itself a perfectly licit end), courts would say this action, though formally quot;neutral,” was too broad to be sustained.

    The Second Amendment should be seen as analogous. There would be no “abridgement” if regulation were aimed at the time, place, and manner in which firearms are used. The community has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that arms are not kept or borne negligently. It might well be permissible to pursue this interest by insisting that those who keep and bear arms receive adequate education, on the firing range and in the classroom, to assure the responsible exercise of this right. Such a law would not be invalid unless it appeared that it was being utilized pretextually–like the extravagant “literacy tests” that Jim Crow voting registrars in the South used to impose on black voters–to subvert or disparage that constitutional right. Any government burden on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” must have an important purpose and must be justified in spite of, and not because of, its tendency to discourage the keeping and bearing of arms. ”


    For such blunt and simple language, the phrase, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” has caused confusion.

  8. I just read something that I did not realize. Virginia is being redundant. Why are we spending ANY money on the Virginia Instant Check System when we have the NICS? In the above post, I thought we were discussing the NICS. Oops. If we must have a background check, by all means, lets save money, get rid of those remaining workers and just use the existing system instead of using the state one. I mean, we’re also paying for the NICS.

    One comment I read elsewhere, is that the government could stop all gun sales by dealers by defunding the NICS. Yet another argument for getting rid of the checks.

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