January 16, 2013
As the threat of stricter gun laws loom, business is good at gun shops across the Commonwealth. In Albemarle County, assault rifles are flying off the shelves.
"Right now if I could get ten thousand, I could sell ten thousand because people are doing the desperation buys," said Edgar Lindamood, the co-owner of Acme Arms off River Road on Pantops. "Under normal circumstances, the assault rifles go at the same rate as any other popular firearm."
But political experts say there is no need to panic, because an overhaul of the nation's gun laws won't make it through Congress.
"The only one with a real chance of going through is the universal background check," said Larry Sabato, executive director of the Center for Politics. "Mainly because the principal has already been conceded by second amendment advocates."
Under current laws, sixty percent of gun sales in the U.S. are already covered by background checks. Gun shops like Acme Arms in Albemarle County are required to do background checks on all of their customers, but private gun sellers are exempt from those regulations.
But even garnering support for universal background checks could be tough to push through Congress.
"It's not going to pass unless it's part of a broader package that would appeal to Republicans, and that would include mental health and some sort of limitation or warning on violent films and video games," said Sabato.
The owners of Acme Arms are in wait and see mode. They say they will go along with whatever new regulations are put in place, but in the meantime, they will enjoy the boost in business.
"There are quite a few people out there who are saying, if I actually want to have a firearm, I better get it now," Lindamood said. "There is a little of that desperation purchasing that's going on."
Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt weighed in on possible gun legislation, releasing the following statement:
"As our nation continues to heal from the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Congress must take a serious look at how we can help prevent future tragedies. I look forward to reviewing the proposals set forth by the President as Congress works toward keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Fifth District Virginians."