As a resident of Virginia, I’m wondering if I should take pride in this:
There were 30,220 registered machine guns in Virginia as of March, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
That’s more than any other state in the nation.
Florida and California, with far larger populations than Virginia, ranked second and third in the number of registered machine guns, with 29,128 and 28,774, respectively.
Private citizens who want to legally own a machine gun face a lengthy approval process. Meeting the standard requirements for gun ownership — including no felony record, no psychiatric commitments and no domestic assault convictions — is just the beginning.
After passing a background check, applicants must submit their photograph and fingerprints to be used in a registry maintained by the ATF. Also required is a signed statement from the chief law enforcement officer in the locality where the applicant lives, stating there is no indication the machine gun would be used illegally.
The applicant is also required to affirm that he or she has a “reasonable necessity” to own a machine gun, and to describe what that is.
I’m sure some of those descriptions would make interesting reading. Whether 30,220 of my fellow Virginians have a reasonable necessity to own a machine gun is probably debatable.
Perhaps this simply proves that Virginia’s machine gun owners are more law-abiding than owners in other states. If so, I suppose I can take pride in that.