Virginia Repeals Law Limiting Handgun Purchases

Wednesday, 29 Feb 2012 08:39 AM

 

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a bill repealing a controversial law that had limited handgun purchases to one a month.

The state Legislature voted to repeal the law this month, and the Republican governor signed it on Tuesday.

The limit was enacted in 1993 as part of an effort to curb gun-smuggling operations in the state, which had a reputation as a place where guns could be bought for resale in cities such as Washington and New York.

Supporters of the repeal said it would bring Virginia into line with a majority of U.S. states. California, Maryland, and New Jersey are the only ones with such handgun purchasing limits, said Virginia Sen. Charles Carrico Sr., a Republican.

Opponents worry that lifting the limit could spur an increase in gun violence.

McDonnell signed the repeal a day after a high school student opened fire with a handgun at an Ohio school, killing three students and wounding two others. The shooting focused attention on gun violence in the United States.

Within Virginia itself, Seung-Hui Cho used handguns to kill 32 people and wound 25 others at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg in 2007 before committing suicide. It was the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history.

In addition to the handgun limit repeal, Virginia's Republican-controlled Legislature has passed measures this year requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, a voter identification law opposed by Democrats and minority voters, and a proposal to allow citizens to use deadly force against home invaders.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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