VA officials explain merits of background check system - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

VA officials explain merits of background check system

Posted: Updated:
John Gaddy (WCIV) John Gaddy (WCIV)

by Stacy Jacobson
sjacobson@abcnews4.com

RICHMOND, Va. (WCIV) -- In South Carolina, gun shop owners phone in their gun background checks. But in Virginia, all it takes is a mouse click.

Virginia's Instant Criminal Background check, also called V Check, is an online system. Shops apply, get a user ID and password and then use it to check backgrounds from the store's computer.

"If an individual comes in to a licensed gun dealer in Virginia, whether at a gun show or at a gun shop, and the person wants to purchase a hand gun, pistol, revolver, whatever kind of firearm it may be, then the individual fills out an application and then that is provided to state police," said Corinne Geller, spokesperson for the Virginia State Police.

Geller said applications get checked against federal and state records. If authorities find the person is lying, state police are sent to the shop immediately.

ABCNews4 visited a gun shop outside Richmond, Va. Employees said they had seen police show up in as little as two minutes to make an arrest.

"There's the federal requirements and prohibitions, then there's the state law and prohibitions. All of those are checked simultaneously through our Virginia Firearms Transactions," she said.

In South Carolina, wait times can be long, and responses from NICS can take even longer. Owners said they had waited weeks or even a month.

State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry said he didn't know of any arrests for failed background checks in South Carolina. He said the FBI would handle it in South Carolina.

The Boland Bill would create a mental-health-records-reporting system in South Carolina. Legislators said it moved in to a House subcommittee Wednesday. Several lawmakers introduced the bill on Feb. 19.

Alice Boland was due in court for a preliminary hearing Thursday, but that was rescheduled for a later date that has not been set.

She is charged with attempted murder for allegedly pulling the trigger of a loaded gun on Ashley Hall School grounds in downtown Charleston.

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