Bill will allow gun purchases with one ID

Gun purchasers in Virginia will need one less form of identification to complete their transactions under legislation signed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and sponsored by Del. Michael Webert, R-Marshall.

The law, which takes effect July 1, repeals a requirement that state residents present two forms of identification – a photo identification and a document such as a lease or utility bill that matches the address on the photo identification – to buy a gun. The new law will require only one form of photo identification issued by a government agency.

In a written statement issued Monday, Webert said the bill, signed Friday by McAuliffe, eliminates a meaningless and outdated barrier to law-abiding citizens seeking to buy a gun.

“My bill removes an archaic requirement instituted decades ago when Virginia issued identification to individuals without verifying residency. Now, Virginia law requires an individual demonstrate legal proof of habitation to secure an ID.

“Under the new law, an individual would be required to provide only a single form of ID issued by a government agency of the commonwealth or by the U.S. Department of Defense that indicates Virginia residency.”

The bill passed the House of Delegates and Senate unanimously. Robert Melvin a legislative aide to Webert, said the requirement for gun purchasers to present two forms of government issued identification has been on the books since 1992. Melvin said the requirement applied to purchases made in stores.

“The best way to describe it is it didn’t have the safeguards that we have now,” Melvin said, adding that new forms of government identification now make it possible to verify that applicants are state residents.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com