Charlottesville Police Push for Universal Background Checks

February 14, 2013

A movement to keep out of the wrong hands in Charlottesville. Police and prosecutors say it starts with universal background checks. "Most of the gun violence that we see is connected with some other kind of criminal enterprise," said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo. "It's a sad commentary for most communities that have drug markets and violent gang activity, a lot of that gang activity involves drugs."

Police say it's too easy for criminals to buy guns in Virginia, through the gun show loophole. Under current law, only licensed dealers are required to run background checks on buyers. Guns purchased at gun shows or by private sellers on the internet go unchecked.

"It's kind of like letting 40 percent of passengers on an airplane walk on without being screened, while everyone else has to get screened," said U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy. "The only way the plane is secure is if everyone is screened. It's the same way with guns. We have to make sure everyone goes through that security check process."

U.S. Attorney Heaphy urged Congress to approve measure to make universal background checks law. Heaphy spoke on Capitol Hill in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Longo wrote a letter of support.

"We can prevent handguns from getting into the hands of a person that would use it to cause injury to someone in our community, so I do think it's a fruitful recommendation and something we should pursue," Longo said.

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