The Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would allow more than one handgun purchase a month, paving the way for Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell to sign the measure into law. The bill, which effectively lifts the one-a-month limit on handgun purchases in the state, was approved by the House last week, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Critics of the legislation said that when signed into law, which McDonnell has indicated he will do, it would mark the most significant change in Virginia’s gun laws in nearly 20 years.
The one-a-month law was enacted in 1993 as a mechanism to help control gun-running up and down the East Coast. One of its key supporters, Republican Richard Cullen, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, disagreed with the Senate action.
“I am convinced that this law had a significant impact in reducing gunrunning, so I’m disappointed that it’s being repealed,” he told the Times-Dispatch.
Other critics of the repeal spoke of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings that killed 32 as reason enough to keep the handgun law in place.
“Virginia has had more than its share of horrific tragedies perpetrated by criminals with easy access to firearms,” said Lori Haas, the mother of Emily Haas, who survived the Virginia Tech shootings. “It is a sad day when our legislators purposely make it easier for gun traffickers to do their dirty business.”
But supporters called it a victory for the Second Amendment.
“Today, the Senate took a stand for the Second Amendment by eliminating an unnecessary and outdated law,” Republican state Sen. Charles W. Carrico Sr. said.
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