New gun control laws taking effect in Virginia on July 1

'...Everyone should be able to exercise their right to carry'

ROANOKE, Va. – Ahead of new guns laws that take effect in Virginia on Wednesday, gun owners in the Roanoke Valley are speaking out about the new restrictions.

Gun owners, including Aliya Fitz-El, stopped at Roanoke Firearms to stock up.

“I bought a handgun today just to protect my family and just to make sure we’re always safe,” said Fitz-El. “I just think that everyone should be able to exercise their right to carry.”

The new legislation that takes effect includes a one-handgun-a-month limit. A lawsuit filed by gun rights lobbyists to block the law was denied by a judge last week. There are exemptions for people who have concealed carry permits, for trade-ins, and law enforcement.

Fitz-El, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, supports the new law.

“There’s no reason for people to be buying more than one handgun every day. What the purpose? There is no purpose,” said Fitz-El.

However, gun owner Gary Brown said it infringes on his rights.

“I think it’s a way for our liberal government to take firearms and take our second amendment from us,” said Brown.

Other new gun control measures:

  • Include a red flag law that allows authorities to temporarily take guns away from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others
  • Increase the penalty for recklessly leaving firearms around children
  • Require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within 48 hours or face a civil penalty
  • Give local governments more authority to ban guns in public places like buildings, rec centers or parks
  • Restrict people with protective orders from possessing firearms and must turn them over within 34 hours
  • Require universal background checks

Trader Jerry’s manager, Aaron Cochran, said the universal background check law won’t really impact his Salem store, but it will limit private gun sales, which must be done through a licensed firearms dealer.

“That kind of hurts the gun shows a little bit because instead of instant background check, you’ve got an hour or two or maybe a day or two background check,” said Cochran.

Cochran said that guns aren’t flying off the shelves ahead of the new laws.

“I haven’t seen a lot of people coming in just to buy their handguns because the new laws taking place tomorrow,” said Cochran. “They’re just buying handguns because they want to.”

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You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!