Virginia judge upholds much of new gun background check law

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — A Virginia judge on Tuesday upheld much of a new state law that expands background checks for gun buyers but issued an injunction preventing it from being enforced on buyers between 18 to 20 years old.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring intends to appeal the injunction, his office said in a statement.

The law was one of seven gun control measures passed by the new Democratic majority at the General Assembly this year. It requires a background check for any gun sale, even between private individuals.

The judge wrote that the act was “facially valid,” “valid based on historical justifications” and “facially constitutional.” But he wrote that the state is currently unprepared to administer it in a way that does not infringe on the right of adults under 21 to buy a handgun.

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That’s because federal law does not allow a federally licensed firearm dealer to sell a handgun to anyone under 21, or to run a background check on a person attempting to make such a purchase, Herring’s office said.

“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 said in a statement. “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.”

The lawsuit was filed in late June in Lynchburg Circuit Court by the Virginia Citizens Defense League and five other plaintiffs. Their attorney did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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