By: Ashleigh Meyer
We haven’t yet won the war, but lawyers working with Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) won a decisive battle against Virginia Gov. Wreck-It-Ralph Northam and his efforts to enforce mandatory background check laws for all firearms transfers.
The lawsuit, filed in June by a conglomerate of pro-Second Amendment organizations, sought to secure an injunction against many of Northam’s anti-gun laws, which were set to take effect this month.
The initial injunction was denied, however; when hearing arguments related specifically to the background check mandates, the judge agreed to a temporary injunction, preventing the law to be enforced on young adults between the ages of 18 and 20 attempting to purchase a firearm. The reasoning for the injunction is that federal law does not allow a licensed firearms dealer to sell a handgun to anyone under 21.
The Universal Background Check law prohibits anyone from purchasing a handgun without a background check initiated by such a licensed dealer. VCDL lawyers argued that this is, in effect, a ban on firearms sales to this age group, even though the law is only supposed to impose background checks.
The judge, who stated his general support for mandatory universal background checks, did concede that the state was not able to execute the law without unjustly infringing on the Constitutional rights of young adults. The law did, though, take effect for everyone else.
The injunction may seem like a small and insignificant loophole, but it is actually a monumental decision, as, according to statements made by the Solicitor General, no judge has ever issued an injunction order against an act of the General Assembly. Of course, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has already expressed his intent to challenge the injunction.
“Universal background check systems only work if they are truly universal, and we believe this potentially dangerous judicially created loophole is without basis in the law,” Herring stated. “So while the judge agreed with nearly all of our arguments and largely upheld the law, we believe that this injunction, though limited and narrow, is worthy of higher review.”
Ashleigh Meyer is a professional writer, and Conservative political journalist from rural Virginia.