NORFOLK, Va. - Erika Johnson of Chesapeake bought her first gun at Bob’s Gun Shop in Norfolk Monday.
“I just felt the need to have one when I’m home with the kids by myself to have one in the house,” Johnson said.
The mom of four said she wanted to purchase a gun for safety reasons.
Bob’s Gun Shop was busy with customers. Owner Robert Marcus said there’s been an uptick in gun sales since Democrats took full control on the General Assembly in November. But in recent weeks, he’s seen new buyers like Johnson flock to the store.
“We’re also seeing now the call to defund the police department, and that hits another segment of society,” said Marcus.
Owning a gun never sat well with Johnson, but she said new gun control measures set to take effect Wednesday put her at ease.
“Seeing how easy it is for people to come in and out with purchasing guns, it did make me a little nervous, so with the new gun laws, it actually made me feel a little safer,” Johnson said.
Some of the new gun laws include the Red Flag Bill, known as a Risk Protective Order, which allows authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.
Another bill limits handgun purchases to one every 30 days.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Virginia) said these measures will save lives, Marcus isn’t entirely sold.
“It’s a lot to put upon the honest citizens of Virginia, to burden them with additional laws that only affect them,” said Marcus.
Universal background checks are also new. The bill requires any gun transaction, sale or transfer, to go through a dealer.
Marcus believes the change will ramp up illegal, underground business.
“Criminals are going to find a way to buy or steal a firearm,” he said. “We will put up with it because it’s the law of the commonwealth now, but if anyone thinks it’s going to do any good, you are kidding yourself.”