From VCDL Alert:
COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
April 13, 2007
Office of the Attorney General
The Honorable Michael Bloomberg
Mayor, City of New York
Municipal Building, One Centre Street
Tenth Floor North
New York, NY 10007
Robert F. McDonnell
900 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Virginia Relay Services
RE: Unauthorized Undercover Firearm Transactions in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
I write you regarding Chapter 509 of the 2007 Virginia Acts of Assembly, introduced at my request, addressing “simulated straw purchases” of firearms in the Commonwealth. A copy of the new law is enclosed herein for your reference. The intent of this legislation is to prevent unauthorized activity by non-law enforcement personnel to conduct otherwise illegal firearms purchases. The recent activities by agents of the City of New York in Virginia brought this issue to my attention.
As you know, the U.S. Department of Justice recently wrote to you that such activity is counterproductive to legitimate law enforcement efforts to police illegal firearm trafficking, and has potential legal liabilities. Representatives of your Office have apparently suggested publicly that they may continue such simulated firearm transactions in Virginia perhaps with a view towards further litigation.
The new legislation passed this year at my insistence and signed by Governor Kaine, makes clear that such non-law enforcement activities related to undercover illegal firearm purchases will be punishable as a felony in Virginia. While I understand that you are attempting to take steps that you believe may enhance the public safety of the citizens of New York City, such laws are Virginia’s duty to enforce, and our outstanding state police take that duty seriously. Virginia police and prosecutors now have the tools necessary to stop such unwarranted firearms purchase activity by unauthorized outside agents, and will faithfully enforce the law when violations are discovered.
This new Virginia law strikes the proper balance between ensuring effective law enforcement and protecting the rights of law abiding firearms dealers and those of Virginia citizens under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. If in the future you have specific concerns about criminal justice matters in the Commonwealth, please contact me, the Governor, or the proper law-enforcement agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting such conduct. We will be pleased to address any legitimate public safety concerns that you might raise.
Thanks for your future cooperation.
Robert F. McDonnell
cc: The Honorable Timothy M. Kaine
The Honorable Charles P. Rosenberg
The Honorable John L. Brownlee
The Honorable Harvey Bryant
Col. Steven Flaherty
Virginia ain’t perfect…but it ain’t a bad place to call home either.