VIRGINIA

Virginia "straw man" gun proposal divide some residents

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If you ask Virginians whether illegal gun sales should result in tougher penalties, you'll find plenty of agreement.

But opinions differ on whether proposals from Governor Bob McDonnell go far enough, specifically when it comes to so-called "straw man" gun sales. That's when someone legally buys a gun then sells it to someone who can't legally buy on their own, like a felon or someone with a mental illness.

At the Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Mark Warner is meticulous about sales. He opposes new gun laws but thinks increasing punishment for straw man buyers from 1 to 5 years in prison to 2 to 10 years could be a strong deterrent.

"If you go and break the rules, break the law, then you need to pay the price for it,” says Warner says.

But critics call the straw man plan window dressing, something that gives the impression of action but without substance.

They favor tighter laws like mandatory background checks for private sales and closing the so-called gun show loophole.

"Anything that reduces the number of guns on the street is a good idea," says one Virginia resident.

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