According to Firearm Chronicles
Will a new gun control law allowing people to voluntarily sign up to be prohibited from owning firearms actually get used by anyone? And why was the bill written to begin with? Graham Moomaw of the Virginia Mercury says the idea is for at-risk individuals to let the state know they’re too much of a danger to themselves or others to be allowed to purchase a gun. While supporters say it could have a big impact on suicides in the state, in practice it looks like the law hasn’t done much at all in the one state where it’s already on the books.
Nearly two-thirds of Virginia gun deaths are suicides, according to the Virginia Department of Health data presented to policymakers last year. From 2007 to 2018, more than 56 percent of suicides involved guns. In 2018, there were 674 gun-related suicides in the state. The state data shows most firearm suicides involve handguns, and White men are more likely to be victims of gun suicide than other demographic groups.
The new law will allow anyone over 18 to add themselves to the list, designed to be kept confidential, by filling out a form with a copy of their photo ID and mailing it or delivering it to the Virginia State Police. Once a person is on the list, it will be against the law for them to purchase or possess a gun and unlawful for anyone to knowingly sell or give a gun to a person on the list. If someone on the list changes their mind, they can be removed after waiting 21 days.
Republicans objected to the bill in part because of the lack of safeguards to prevent people from falsely putting someone else on the “no-buy” list. While doing so is a crime, it’s also going to be somewhat easy to do, especially if you’re able to get access to someone’s photo ID long enough to make a copy of it. Democrats, on the other hand, including the bill’s sponsor, say it’s a “no-brainer” piece of mental health legislation that will save lives.