I would like to correct some of Mary Croft's misinformation in her commentary ("Edwards should step up on gun checks," Jan. 25.
A quick look at the Wikipedia entry for the National Rifle Association (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rifle_Association) reveals that the NRA is a nonprofit organization with more than 5 million members. Originally chartered to enhance rifle marksmanship after the American Civil War, our main efforts continue to be in the areas of firearms education with an emphasis on safety.
The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) was founded and registered in 1975 as a lobby group to further our organization's goal of protecting the Second Amendment and the rights it gives to American citizens. The NRA represents not only its 5 million members, but all Americans who believe in the Second Amendment; the NRA does not "represent gun manufacturers, not NRA members," as stated by Croft.
In addition, in a poll of NRA members, more than 80 percent of NRA members opposed background checks for private purchases of firearms. This is a distinct contradiction to Croft's claim.
Unfortunately, Croft (as well as many other commonwealth citizens) does not understand what transpires at a gun show in Virginia. All Federal Firearms License-holding vendors at any gun show are required by law to have a firearm purchaser fill out a federal and state background check prior to purchasing a firearm.
Upon receiving those signed forms, the FFL holder/vendor performs an instant background check through the Virginia State Police database. If the background check is not "clean," the sale is not made, and the potential purchaser may be held for prosecution (depending on the reason for the background check not going through. This is where Croft gets her statement about would-be buyers being prosecuted).
In the commonwealth (not just at gun shows), personal guns may be bought and sold between individuals who are residents of the commonwealth who have no criminal background, restraining orders against them, nor have been deemed mentally incompetent or dangerous. Knowingly selling a firearm to an individual who does not meet these criteria is illegal, and law-abiding citizen gun owners are aware of this and respect this law.
As for Internet sales of firearms that she makes reference to (" . . . there's nothing that will stop these people from answering a listing on armslist.com or backpage.com and getting their gun without a background check"), any firearm purchased across state lines through the Internet must pass through an FFL holder, complete with a state police background check, just as would happen at the gun show or if an individual purchased a firearm from a reputable gun dealer.
Unfortunately, individuals like Croft throw out misinformation, and newspapers and other media do not research their source and correct these lies. Therefore, the uneducated reader or listener is misinformed about the stringent nature of gun purchasing in our state and in our country.
Background checks for every single firearms purchase could easily lead to a national gun registry. A national gun registry could allow for gun confiscation as has happened in Great Britain, Australia and Canada. The Second Amendment gives the right to "keep and bear arms" to lawful American citizens. That is why the NRA and I oppose uniform background checks.