VIRGINIA - The topic of firearms, whether it is a handgun or rifle, has stirred up controversy across the nation. It is not only the type of violence committed but how people are getting a hold of these firearms.
Guns, like many things, can be considered collectibles. At gun shows purchases are made left and right but it is tough to know which purchases are made illegally and which are not.
A background check is required for licensed dealers but not private sellers. If the check is not performed it cannot be known in tracking down the illegal purchases.
"Private sales are also allowed at gun shows. People can come in, rent a table, put their collection out there and sell the gun and again because they're not a dealer, no background investigation is required," said Jimmy Johnson, owner of Virginia Pistol.
For those purchasing from a licensed dealer, Virginia state law requires not only two forms of photo identification but also a state police and federal form completed.
"Virginia is one of the first states, if not, the first to come up with the instant background check system," said William Randolph, owner of Stonewall Arms.
A licensed dealer can deny a purchase if criminal history is found. Within 2013 Johnson said he has denied three people and has seen two arrests in his store.
"If they're a convicted felon I've actually had people be denied because they were backing out of child support. There could be all sorts for reasons for denial," said Johnson.
Johnson says most firearms used by criminals are obtained from theft. With private sellers not having to do background checks, he says that becomes their easy access.
"In the commonwealth of Virginia, it is legal to do private sales between individuals. What I'd recommend they do is if they don't want to take that person to a firearms dealer, is complete a bill of sale, and ask that individual purchasing the gun for a photo identification," said Johnson.
Most crimes, Randolph says, can be controlled by the person controlling the gun and those selling it.
"There's nothing wrong with firearms. If owned and stored properly, there's nothing wrong with firearms. It's the person behind it," said Randolph.
With a background check, it can be well worth in the long run in preventing a crime.
The requirements for obtaining a firearm in Virginia are extensive but it is recommended to receive quality training.
To purchase a shot gun or a rifle you need to be at least 18 years old and to purchase from a licensed dealer; you need to be at least 21 years old.