Virginia's background check system has prevented more than 16,000 felons from buying guns since it began in 1989, according to state police records.
The records show a total 54,260 transactions have been denied during the past 24 years. The total also includes drug abusers, the mentally ill and domestic assault offenders.
Virginia Commonwealth University criminal justice assistant professor Thomas R. Baker says the state's background checks help to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them. Baker tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the checks also help to identify and punish people who try to illegally obtain guns.
Last month, state police arrested seven people for trying to illegally buy guns at a gun show in Henrico County.