Virginia VCheck Outage Points to Unacceptable Vulnerability for Gun Purchases

And all this means what if the system is down? (Virginia State Police Firearms Transaction Center)

U.S.A. – -( “Have you seen this?” longtime friend “Concerned American,” who runs the Western Rifle Shooters Association blog asked me in an email last Friday. He had attached a screenshot sent to him on Gab from a correspondent informing him:

“Hey CA. Just called the biggest FFL near me in Central Virginia and they confirmed that the system has been down since yesterday morning. No explanation and no estimated time of repair. Official statement from VA Police is reason is ‘Unknown.’”

No, I had not seen it. And furthermore, I was running against the clock getting ready to leave with my wife to visit a sick friend — in central Virginia of all places. We were set to leave in under two hours from the time the email came across my transom, so a quick reaction was called for.

The first place I checked was the Virginia Citizens Defense League Alerts page. There was nothing there when I did (but that has since been updated, and I’ll get to that in a moment).

What next? I didn’t see anything at the time over at the other two VA-headquartered gun groups, the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America, and couldn’t really think of anyone else to ask, so I just did a web search for “Virginia FFLs,” and made some calls to confirm what CA was being told.

The next people I checked on were the folks who run the V-Check system, the Virginia State Police. Neither of their “Help Desk” numbers would work, and instead both disconnected me. So, I went to Twitter and asked them there what was going on.

Long story short (you can see the version with all correspondence over at my The War on Guns blog) the fire suppression system at the VSP headquarters data center somehow got triggered and that impacted criminal justice system databases, including the Virginia Firearms Transaction VCheck system. The techs were doing what they could to get things back up.

“All Virginia FFLs were notified yesterday by the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center,” my VSP Twitter correspondent informed me. Perhaps, but the first two I encountered were surprised by it, so evidently, not everyone got the word.

And there was one other comment that just didn’t sit right.

“Firearm purchases are not being denied, but delayed.”

Whoever was fielding statements for public consumption and came up with that nice little bit of weasel-wording has evidently never read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. “Letter from Birmingham Jail”:

“We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”

VCDL addressed that when they informed their members of the outage:

“The Virginia VCheck system went down hard and it wasn’t clear when it was going to be back up.  It finally came up the next day.  But it showed a glaring problem in the law in Virginia:  All gun sales, even private ones, were stopped dead in their tracks until that system came back up.  If it took a month, then gun sales would have been stopped for a month.”

They then identified the only real solution:

“Of course, we ultimately want to repeal Universal Background Checks in the future.”

Using Bruen’s “historical understanding” criterion, that suddenly doesn’t seem so far-fetched. After all, back in the Founders’ time, VCheck would have required an army of dispatch riders and the approval could take weeks or longer to get back.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea