Brooklyn bust reignites debate over Virginia gun laws

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) —  Sparks are flying over Virginia gun laws following a massive bust in New York with ties to the Commonwealth.

Authorities say criminals trafficked hundreds of weapons from Virginia to New York, with many of those guns coming from the Richmond area.

This raises questions of whether or not it is too easy to buy a gun in Virginia, especially after one of the men arrested in the bust was heard on a wiretap mocking Virginia’s weak gun laws.

Police say that more than 200 weapons were purchased in Virginia to be trafficked and eventually sold in New York, with the majority of people arrested for the gun trafficking being from the Richmond area.

“I’m not surprised,” Andrew Goddard said. “I’m not surprised in the lease because we’ve known that this thing is going on.”

Goddard is the father of Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard and currently a Steadfast advocate for more restrictive guns laws.

“It started out as a personal thing,” Goddard said. “Now it’s like a mission to try and reduce the number of those guns available to people who shouldn’t have them, who have no legal right to own them.”

Goddard would like Virginia to bring back the one-handgun-a-month law, which would restrict people to one weapon purchase a month.

Governor Terry McAuliffe also thinks the law is a good idea and took to Twitter to share our story.

“Gun runners love Virginia’s lax gun laws,” McAuliffe said. “Let’s pass background checks and one handgun a month and put them out of business.”

While President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League Phillip Van Cleave insists that people need to be stopped and not guns.

“We had one gun a month, that didn’t stop the criminals,” Van Cleave said. “They will find a way around it.”

Van Cleave added that gun laws don’t stop people from wanting to murder someone.

“We’re taking the wrong approach because some people just don’t like guns,” Van Cleave said. “You can’t take an inanimate object and blame your problems on that inanimate object. If there’s someone in New York that wants to murder someone, isn’t that really the issue?”

Police say part of the problem is that the guns were purchased legally by people who could pass background checks or Straw Purchasers.

Critics say that if you can’t stop them, you can’t stop trafficking.

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