A bill introduced by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) that would make it illegal to possess firearms with a history of mental illness has been introduced by state lawmakers.
McDonnell, a Republican, said the new law would make Virginia the fifth state in the country to ban the practice.
“If a law-abiding gun owner believes that he or she has been affected by a mental health crisis and has violated the law, the law does not apply to them,” McDonnell said in a statement.
“Anyone who believes that they have violated the mental health law should immediately report that to the appropriate law enforcement officials.”
McDonnell’s proposal would take effect in a year, meaning people who have been found to have mental health problems could be charged with a misdemeanor.
The new law also would prohibit anyone with a mental illness from buying a firearm, which could result in jail time if convicted.