So Where Are All Those 2A Sanctuary Counties In Virginia?

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 5 months ago

News from Virginia.

Gun stores — usually busy at Christmas and always during tumultuous times — are squeezing in a different category of customer this year: Folks on either end of a private deal.

For the first Yuletide ever, a new law makes it illegal for Virginians to sell their personally owned firearms without buyers clearing the kind of background checks that can only be handled by federally licensed dealers.

Gifts — the genuine kind with zero money, goods or services swapped — are exempt.

Otherwise, both parties must enlist a dealer for a criminal history check run through the Virginia State Police, with the state capping the dealer’s service fee at $15.

There’s no shortage of grumbling in the new line at Bob’s Gun Shop in Norfolk, but “people are complying because that’s what law-abiding people do,” said owner Robert Marcus. “But they don’t see it addressing any crime issues.”

Mandatory universal background checks, bitterly fought about for years in the commonwealth, were part of a handful of new firearms restrictions that kicked in July 1, aimed at reducing gun violence.

The aim wasn’t to reduce anything except liberty.

Before that, background checks were only required with direct purchases from professional dealers. Private sellers, including regulars hawking at gun shows, weren’t obligated to verify that the people buying their guns were legally allowed to have them.

Now — while some exceptions exist — skipping the background check is a Class 1 misdemeanor for sellers and buyers, fetching a fine as high as $2,500 and even a year in jail.

[ … ]

Van Cleave said the requirement is not just “inconvenient,” but has “goofed up a lot of sales” because the VSP’s backgrounding process — known as a VCheck — can get clogged.

“I know people who’ve driven an hour or two to get to a dealer and then found the system is delayed,” he said. “They’re told to come back tomorrow or the next day, and everyone can’t always do that.”

Some dealers will hold guns on behalf of sellers until checks can go through, but if buyers don’t qualify in the end, a dealer isn’t allowed to return the gun without a background check on the seller.

“They have to do that to give back your own gun,” Van Cleave said. “It’s ridiculous.”

So I have two questions.  Where are all of those 2A sanctuary counties if they won’t stop this and defend the right of citizens to do person to person transfers without state approval?  And what the hell good are the sanctuary counties if they’re going to forget all about their commitments so quickly?


  1. On December 29, 2020 at 6:45 am, Red in OleVirginny said:

    Good Morning
    Consider the source – the Pilot is owned by Tribune Publishing. Norfolk has always been a mess. Folks had to jump through extra hoops to make a purchase.
    For every one of these official “background checks” dozens of friendly transactions have taken place in garages, around the firepit in the backyard, at the hunting club, etc.
    Solid folks continue to ignore coonman northman.
    But your question is valid – why haven’t the 2A sanctuaries spoken up? In a way they have. They are “doing everything by doing nothing.” Local sheriffs know what’s going on – and in many cases are part of these backyard deals. They know on which side their bread is buttered. They choose to ignore Richmond. So do I.
    Best Regards,
    Red in OleVirginny

  2. On December 29, 2020 at 10:03 am, Fred said:

    Rebublicans only do that sancturay county feel good resolution garbage to make a splash and get reelected. They don’t actually care about you or your duties to Holy God. They care about power and money. They too, are the enemy.

  3. On December 29, 2020 at 10:15 am, Johnny Rebel said:

    It is CCP/PRC occupied in the glorious people’s republic of Virginia.
    The fedgov leviathan worker drones improvementated the place for the good of the collective and they know what is best for the kulaks.
    A local shop has state cops sit in the parking lot and do checks from their patrol cars but this is a world class operation that has been in business for almost 50 years.
    A background check on my buddy Jim Bob? I have no internet or cellphone comrade kommissar.
    Some hecho en China forms? I misplaced my eyeglasses and can’t read them.
    Once I had to wait a few days on a S&W .357 due to some clerical error with a name misspelling but the no longer in business shop was within walking distance and they called as soon as it was worked out.

  4. On December 29, 2020 at 12:44 pm, Ned said:

    Apparently 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries are just the right’s version of virtue signaling.

  5. On December 29, 2020 at 2:31 pm, PJ said:

    Don’t ask us. Go into the local sheriff’s office and ask them if they arrest for this “offense”. If they do, then be a bit more careful with your free market transaction. And have a friend on overwatch…

  6. On December 29, 2020 at 2:47 pm, WarEagle82 said:

    How might the county or city government effectively intervene when two citizens approach an FFL and request a background check? Can you explain how that could be accomplished? Remember, the citizens are contacting the FFL and not the county or city government to start this transaction.

  7. On December 29, 2020 at 3:15 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    Well, that’s a great question, and I guess my thoughts weren’t clear enough – not even for me.

    My point was not what the counties are doing, but what the people are doing. If they think the county resolutions will protect them, why are they going to FFLs to get transfers done?

    The issues comes down to this, I guess. No one is willing to entrust themselves to county protection from this state law. I’m not sure I blame them. No one wants to be the test case.

    But if not this, then what? Do they believe that the resolution is only good for gun confiscations of certain types of firearms? Why would the resolution be any good for that if it isn’t good for property rights in person-to-person transfers?

  8. On December 29, 2020 at 4:03 pm, Ned2 said:

    I would hope the good citizens of Virginia are spending their time reloading instead of spending their time with bothersome bureaucrats.

  9. On December 29, 2020 at 4:13 pm, WarEagle82 said:

    Well, then we have some agreement that the root of the issue here is that people are going to an FFL to seek a background check for private sales because at least one of the people is insisting on this course of action. The county or city cannot know this and really cannot take any effective action in this situation.

    There have to be at least a couple of reasons for why people request VChecks. One or more party is unsure the other won’t report them for the sale. The seller is in fact not clear on the background of the purchaser. (This is one of the reasons I will probably never sell a gun.) Or one or both parties reflexively obey every law they are aware of. Or one or both parties realizes that the county or city cannot prevent VSP from arresting them should they become aware of the transaction.

    Of course, we have no idea how many Virginians have transferred firearms without submitting to the process. I don’t see a way to confirm the number of VCheck applications this year so I have no way of knowing. There is anecdotal evidence that some transactions have been reported and have been problematic. I am not sure there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that people acting in their own perceived self-interests, correctly or incorrectly, is proof that the 2A Sanctuary movement is a failure.

  10. On December 29, 2020 at 6:12 pm, tired dog said:

    Must a gunsmith run the check before returning my gun after repair?

  11. On December 29, 2020 at 6:17 pm, Bill Buppert said:

    How do you know sanctuary cities and other melodramatic promises won’t work ? If they were worth pursuing, they would be instituted and acted on immediately. More cheap ambition with zero follow-through.

  12. On December 29, 2020 at 7:39 pm, X said:


    The vast majority of white people will follow the law, because they do not want to get arrested (even if the probability of that is extremely low).

    If the cops come to arrest them, the cops will be armed and ready to commit violence, including death if necessary, if the subject refuses to comply. The only way to prevent that is to use an equal amount of countervailing force against the cops, which will lead to either death or life in prison for the resister. Essentially the cops have a license to kill and the resister does not.

    Therefore white people comply with the law, even if it is a stupid and ineffective law, because they have too much to lose.

    I have to give the blacks credit (or maybe they are just stupid and impulsive) but they seem to be the only group that will stand up to the cops, and burn and loot shit if they do not get their way. Of course a sizeable number of them go to prison as well, so…

  13. On December 29, 2020 at 8:18 pm, Fred said:

    WarEagle82 and Herschel, so what I’m understanding then is, that FFLs are unpaid agents of the State making an illegal record with the federal government about which it and they have zero just cause or jurisdiction. FFL = FedBoi informant.

  14. On December 29, 2020 at 10:31 pm, luke2236 said:

    Just like masks, dog licenses, the 55 mph speed limit, etc etc, just say NO. Simply ignore the illegal statute. Mass civil disobedience accomplishes much.

  15. On December 29, 2020 at 11:11 pm, Jimmy the Saint said:

    @Luke 2236: ” Mass civil disobedience accomplishes much.”

    Such as? From your list of “masks, dog licenses, the 55 mph speed limit” only one of those is gone, and only kind of gone at that. Sure, people can defy most, if not all, laws with *near* impunity – for a while – but sooner of later, most will get caught, and the DAs/city attorneys will hit them with a laundry list of violations to get a nice, quick plea deal.

  16. On December 30, 2020 at 2:51 am, Hudson H Luce said:

    “Sooner or later, most will get caught” Sure, if the local cop shop has nothing better to do, and the DA wants to prosecute the cases that the cops come up with. Having done criminal defense for 15 years, actively, I can tell you that cops and DAs look for cases they can win. Cops have a limited budget and so do DAs, so they pick and choose their cases. It’s why lots of police departments just take a report on thefts, it’s just too expensive and time consuming to do anything about. Meth labs, drunk drivers, domestic battery, aggravated battery and assault, rape, murder – crimes against persons, that’s another thing. Drug crimes, where the cops can do civil forfeiture and the perps are too drunk or doped up or plain stupid, and just announce themselves, that’s an easy bust and potentially big bucks for the department. This kind of thing, not so much, unless the DA wants to push things, and there’s no criminal defense bar which will effectively fight back. In our county, we informed the DA that *every single* marijuana bust was going to go to a full jury trial, with extensive motions practice, unless the DA decided to cool it on that stuff – and then every case after that came with request for jury trial – and the DA relented and changed his policy. So that can happen, too. And juries can refuse to convict, too, and there’s nothing judges or DAs can do about that – or they can be hung, and then the DA has to go through the whole procedure again if he wants to go after the person. DAs who spend a lot of time and taxpayer money tilting at windmills lose elections, same case for DAs who lose cases.

    So that’s the post-arrest side of things. The pre-arrest side is this – somebody’s wearing a wire and the cops want to nail someone. Or one or both parties to a transaction have their smart phones on them or in the general vicinity, and NSA picks up what gets said – those things should be treated as “always on” – and drops a dime to the local DA. The DA calls the cops, they gin up PC for a search warrant, show up at a convenient hour like four in the morning (no joke, happened to a client), go in, tear the living shit out of his house, and if they find what they’re looking for, pop him and take him in and threaten to have Family Services take his kids (really happened) and scream and yell and threaten for four hours. You *do* have the right to first invoke your right to silence and then shut up, which is what I suggest people do around cops. They’re enemies, not friendlies, with a photographic memory for incriminating evidence, and total Alzheimers for exculpatory evidence. And they can lie and threaten and give you PTSD with impunity. Anything you say can and *will* be used against you.

    The other possibility is that one of the parties to a transaction or crime goes out and gets drunk or stoned and brags about what they did, and someone drops a dime on them. Or they’re in jail talking to cellmates. Somebody drops a dime on them, parlays that into a lesser charge, and someone gets nailed – and that has happened to clients.

    When people talk to police, they’re just totally crazy. Had one 18-year-old client get talked to by a motherly lady cop, he told her enough to give her PC for an arrest, and then gave her permission to search his car. Never, ever consent to any search – ever. Nothing I could do, he screwed himself and his chances for college into the ground – just for being taken in by a cop. She said at trial “He should have known his rights, I’m not his damned mother.” He ended up with $5000 in court costs, fees, fines, and a scam substance abuse counseling session – and a misdemeanor conviction – and no chance for higher education or professional licensure.

    So ditch the smart phones, use Baofengs if you want to talk to somebody away from home. If your counterparty insists on having Ralphie’s boys involved, cancel the transaction, and never ever talk to that guy again. That’s my advice – and whatever you can infer from what’s above.

  17. On December 30, 2020 at 3:14 am, Hudson H Luce said:

    And “second amendment resolutions” are good up until the government chooses to ignore them. How much do you trust the government?

  18. On December 30, 2020 at 10:33 am, WarEagle82 said:

    On December 29, 2020 at 6:12 pm, tired dog said:

    Must a gunsmith run the check before returning my gun after repair?
    There have been some laws written so poorly that simply handing your firearm to a hunting buddy would have been illegal. Legislators are for the most part arrogant, stupid pricks who think they are geniuses. Just listen to a few of their hearings or speeches. But, the Virginia law on private sales does not make the gunsmith the owner of your firearm when you take it in for repair.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published December 28th, 2020 by Herschel Smith.

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