Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge) has introduced a bill that would repeal the 1 handgun a month law that has been in effect in Virginia since the days of Governor Doug Wilder.  HB 49 has made it out of committee and stands a good chance of being passed.  The Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee voted 15-6 Friday to advance Del. Scott Lingamfelter’s bill.

Why do we have such a law limiting the number of handguns we can purchase?  In a nut shell, Virginia was a gun running state.  Prior to 1993, when the 1 hand gun a month law went into effect, Virginia was the  # 1  gun-running  state.  Scofflaws would come to Virginia, buy up a load of guns, and return home to sell them illegally.  New York had a particular problem with Virginia guns.  Since the law was passed, Virginia has been #6 in gun running. 

According to CBOnline:

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s ban on buying more than one handgun a month would be repealed under a bill that passed a House committee on Friday.

The Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee voted 15-6 to advance Del. Scott Lingamfelter’s bill to a vote in the GOP-controlled House, where it is likely to pass.

Supporters say lawmakers have carved so many exemptions into the law that it was no longer effective. Since the legislation was passed in 1993, legislators have exempted the state’s 214,000 concealed carry permit holders, all law enforcement and corrections workers, those whose guns were stolen within a month of purchase and other groups from the ban. It does not apply to rifles or shotguns.

“It may have had a purpose in 1993 when it was passed, but if did, the rationale for this statute has been neutered by all the exemptions that now exist,” Lingamfelter said.

Opponents argued the prohibition had helped move Virginia from being the nation’s No. 1 supplier of guns used in the commission of crimes to No. 6. Repealing it, they said, would make it easier for criminals to get guns through so-called straw purchases. In a straw purchase, someone who can pass the required federal background check buys the gun for someone who is a felon, mentally ill or for some other reason is barred from buying guns.

“If a person can walk out with a box full of Glocks, they’re going to walk out to the street and sell them,” said Andrew Goddard, who has lobbied against gun rights bills since his son was shot four times at Virginia Tech in 2007 but survived.

There seems to be room for compromise here.  Many of us who are gun owners don’t mind being limited to buying 1 a month.  Perhaps changing the law to 2 hand guns a month might help.  If a person needs to buy more guns than currently are allowed, there are many ways around the problem.  Virginians need to be looking carefully at how to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, especially after the massacre at Virginia Tech, rather than repealing all laws.  We are going to wrong direction.  

It appears that the legislators in this Northern Virginian region  all support the wild west mentality of buying as many guns as one wants.  Hopefully down-state realizes that this law in Virginia not only protects Virginians but also the rest of the country.  Being #6 isn’t great but it beats being #1.

26 Thoughts to “12 Hand Guns a Year Limit in Danger of Repeal”

  1. Witness Too

    I’ve come to accept that politicians often have to vote against their conscience and against the people’s interest because the special interests are more powerful than we are. I’ve come to accept that the gun lobby is very powerful in Virginia, and thus I’ve also come to accept that there are certain dangers that go with living here, just as there are dangers that go with living in other regions. In some places you have hurricanes to worry about. In others it’s earthquakes. In Virginia we have to worry about gun massacres. The risk is small. If we can’t live with that risk, we should probably move away. Far away, since Virginia’s lax gun laws will now allow illegal guns to proliferate all over the east coast. Not much we can do about it.

  2. I am not opposed to owning guns. I do own guns. I want to know why I need to buy more than 1 a month.

  3. RingDangDoo

    The one handgun a month law was a feel-good restriction that had no effect on the reduction of crimes or violence. Law abiding citizens don’t buy guns illegally. Criminals do, and NO law will prevent that.

    Virginia tries to weed out the criminal element by requiring background checks across several national and state databases to ensure that the buyer does not have a criminal background or is not mentally fit to own a weapon.

  4. RingDangDoo


    >>> I want to know why I need to buy more than 1 a month.

    The other day I was in a gun shop and saw a beautiful matched set of revolvers. Given the ‘1 a month’ restriction, I couldn’t buy both at the same time.

    There are innumerable reasons why someone would want to buy more than 1 a month. The restriction is silly.

    Remember that the restriction is on handguns. One could still visit Bass Pro, Cabela’s , etc., and buy up a bunch of shotguns or rifles.

  5. Right. There are applications for exceptions and most lawabiding gun dealers would allow you to put a deposit on the guns.

    Actually the Virginia restriction did cut down on crimes committed outside of Virginia. We were supplying most of the guns used in felonies in New York and other northern states.

    It is easy to tweak the current law to fix problems Virginians are having with it. To simply repeal the law allows us to once again be the gun supplier for the east coast. Even as a gun owner, I have always supported the one handgun a month law.

  6. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Moron law, anyway. Handguns are VERY personal (not unlike handbags for ladies, I’m told). You can’t rent one for a month and see if you like it or not. I’ve bought three handguns in a day (sold them all eventually). Eventually, after a year of so, I finally settled on the right one (or two) for me, but I went through a bunch. Expensive hobby, I can tell you. There are things I’d MUCH rather see than this, though. Castle Doctrine is #1, Civil Immunity for self-defense/justifiable shootings is #2. All this restaurant crap and more than 1 a month….that should come AFTER #1 and #2. And who gives a rat’s a$$ about New York Crimes? Bloomberg is running a craphole right into the ground up there, and I LOVE it. Bloomberg and the idiots that vote for him deserve to go bankrupt.

  7. The law did restrict supply and did cut down on the number of “illegal” guns in other states. Remember, though, that those states have more restrictions on gun ownership than does Virginia. Those states restrict the rights of their citizens, ie. New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and DC. So, what they are calling illegal guns may just be what we call home defense. Restricted markets ALWAYS develop black markets.

    And, no. Virginia was NOT the source of the MAJORITY of the guns used in felonies. A large percentage, yes, but not the majority. Why is it that the cities and states with the most restrictive gun controls always have the highest gun crime statistics? DC vs Arlington/Fairfax? While I don’t see a “need” to buy more than one gun a month (though I wish I could afford it, I have quite a shopping list…..), the law is an affront against honest purchasers. Straw purchases are already against the law. Once there are restrictions in place, the argument can be continued: “Wouldn’t NO guns a month be even more effective in stopping crime in other states?”

    It is the weakness of law enforcement, the restrictions on civil rights, and a degraded culture that utilizes violence to solve problems, in those northern cities that is the problem. Not our gun laws.

  8. If the 2nd amendment were as obvious, unambiguous, and clear as people like to say it is, why does it keep coming back up in case after case? Different interpretation by different people. It just isn’t the sword I am going to fall on.

    I do care about crime in other areas. We are not that regional. America isn’t just a series of dots on a map. We are all interconnected. Crime that happens in New Jersey can end up costing me money. Didn’t our police force have to clean up after some NJ murder on 95 the other day? Someone on here kept howling and carrying on about kidnappings and crime in Phoenix. It doesn’t take long for crime to trickle out into other communities.

    I am sort of an establishment clause nut–and I certainly do not get respect I feel I am entitled to on such issues. As for 2nd amendment, I have never felt like my rights have been trampled on.

  9. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Moon-howler :
    If the 2nd amendment were as obvious, unambiguous, and clear as people like to say it is, why does it keep coming back up in case after case?

    It keeps coming up in case after case because liberal Socialists need the Constitution to not exist, and the 2nd amendment protects the rest of the document. Funny you up the Phoenix thing, as that is the perfect example crime spilling over. Here’s the problem, protect the border properly, enforce immigration laws, problem solved. All the guns that find their way into Mexico? Once again, border protection. In fact, a whole lot of crime in every direction could have been stopped with proper border protection (which is one the few jobs our federal government is actually SUPPOSED to be doing!!).

  10. I don’t disagree that the border needs protecting. I also know that is not going to take care of the entire illegal immigration situation. Many people over-stay visas.

    However, the 2nd amendment has keeps coming up. Not everyone has a right to a gun, obviously. You aren’t going to hand your son one.

    A major problem is, how do we keep guns out of the hands of nut cases. No one thinks they are a nut. I am more concerned about nuts than I am criminals. There seems to be no way to assess people being nuts. Arming everyone is not the answer. Some nut will always be allowed to slip by.

  11. Rez

    Wolfie, you bring up a very important point about nuts and guns. But it is the same as so many other things involving nuts. Nuts drive cars through crowds killing a few to dozens, nuts also stab people. But you can’t penalize law abiding people by taking away drivers licenses or kitchen utensils because of what a nut would do.

    There has to be a better way to detecting nuts for a myriad of reasons.

    I don’t have a handgun by the way. I was taught some time ago that home defense was good with a shotgun. You don’t have to aim it and if you miss it won’t go through a wall and kill someone unintentionally. But I also don’t think I have a right to keep someone else from getting them if the people pose no danger to me or others.

    Again, we have to do a better job of balancing the right to privacy with the right of the state to regulate legitimate things. Sadly, no one has come up with a good approach it appears.

  12. marinm

    The bill is a move in the right direction.

    I don’t believe the govt has a compelling interest in restricting the number of firearms a person can purchase in any arbitrary time period.

    The govt doesn’t put forth the same limitation in the purchase of shovels, cars, bottles of alcohol, bricks, or toilet paper. How is a gun any different?

    The person has already passed a background check at point of sale if they’re making a purchase from a dealer – so that means they’re not a felon.

    So, what is the compelling state interest in having a restriction? Can anyone answer that?

  13. RingDangDoo


    >>> You aren’t going to hand your son one.

    I would, and he’s only 14. I wouldn’t think twice about it. My daughter too. My shame is that she can out-shoot me at 200 yards with an M1 Garand. I can’t live that down! 😉

    >>> A major problem is, how do we keep guns out of the hands of nut cases. No one thinks they are a nut. I am more concerned about nuts than I am criminals….

    The greater problem I see is the restrictions placed on the majority of law abiding citizens because of a few nuts. Why punish the majority because of the actions of a few nuts?

    I know where you are coming from. I don’t know the answer, but I’ll cling to side of liberty.

    BTW, thanks for the thread. It’s an issue dear to my heart. 😉

  14. RingDangDoo


    >>> I was taught some time ago that home defense was good with a shotgun. You don’t have to aim it and if you miss it won’t go through a wall and kill someone unintentionally.

    You don’t have to aim it!? OMG! Please AIM IT!

    Assume three normal-sized bedrooms separated by dry-wall, and you’re in one of the rooms firing toward the others….

    A 9mm round will go through two walls and hit the third with only a small drop in trajectory. Nasty.

    A .45ACP round will go through two walls but drop a lot on the last wall and may not penetrate it. It’s a bigger round, but loses energy faster. Equally nasty though.

    Generally, a shotgun round will lose its energy at the first wall. 00-buck will put a BIG hole THROUGH the first wall, but not much else. #3 or #4 buck would probably not go through the first wall.

    #4 buck is very good for home defense. It would give a perp a really bad skin rash (grin) and get the job done. I’d only use 00-buck if I wanted to hit someone on the back side of a wall or car door. 😉

    Ballistic science is cool. 😉

  15. Rez


    “You don’t have to aim it!? OMG! Please AIM IT!”

    Bad choice of words. 🙂

  16. I knew what you meant, Rez.
    Not at REz:
    What business does the state have in regulating liquor, medicine, drugs? I don’t think that can be used as a valid argument. The govt already regulates by mere mention in the constitution.

    Ring: Hand to son…you son is older than Slowpoke’s son who is a pre school-ager. Not everyone gets to have a gun. Not everyone should have a gun.

    In general: I would give up a few of my gun owner rights in order to make sure some psychopath like Cho doesn’t shoot up a campus of people. Not everyone feels the way I do. I would also give up some privacy rights as well as civil rights to make sure some religious fanatic didn’t dive a plane into a building full of innocent people. But that’s me.

  17. marinm


    The state has no valid reason to limit handgun purchases to one a month for a person that has completed the background check. On one hand the state is saying you can make the purchase but the other hand is saying we only trust you with 1 unless you come back in 30 days. Illogical. If we were to make the same prohibition on peace flags, rap videos, video games, t-shirts, or books would it be equally acceptible?

    To your comment about giving up some rights – you have that right. Congress took the exact same path when they authorized PATRIOT and warrantless wiretaps. I disagree. I don’t believe hurting the general publics constitutional rights has any effect on controlling access to felons and firearms.

  18. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Couple things: Moon, No one thinks they’re a nut. ESPECIALLY, nuts, by definition, don’t think they’re nuts. I’m agreeing with you emphatically on that one. Yeah, my boy’s 2.5 or a month shy. He prefers Smith & Wesson X-Frames, which are just too much gun for me (kidding, of course).

  19. So Slow, how do we keep a Cho type from getting hold of guns? That is the part that I simply cannot reconcile in my own mind.

    Marinm, you are all for saying what you don’t like and about defending your rights. However, I haven’t heard a word about how you keep the rest of us safe from those who would do the gun running thing or buy up an arsenal and then go shoot up innocent people.

    There is a problem. How do we solve it and still protect everyone’s constitutional rights which are not without some limitations.

  20. marinm

    I have no answer for that as I can’t regulate (nor would I try) citizen’s behavior.

    It’s already illegal to shoot someone up (unless you have a justifiable reason for it of course). But, nothing we ever do, no law we pass, will ever stop people from killing other people.

    The only practical solution is to prosecute persons who commit crimes – don’t let them get off easy. But, you get people on the back-end. You’ll never catch them on the front.

  21. Wolverine

    One gun a month or ten guns a month? What really concerned me was the fact that someone knew the Virginia Tech killer was a potential problem guy, and the person who knew it took his files home and forgot about it. As I recall, the killer bought his weapons legally. I know the state government has been making moves to fix this problem, but I hope they fix it well and totally. It takes only one twisted, unreported mind and one legally purchased gun to end a lot of lives. We just saw it again in Huntsville, Alabama. And nobody down there seems to have known that she shot her own brother to death in Braintree, Mass. in 1986. We have a lot of unfortunate disconnects in our system.

  22. Wolverine, our privacy laws prevented Fairfax from telling Tech about Cho’s emotional problems/mental illness also.

    Tell more about the files at home. I only heard bits and pieces of that. What bothers me also is that Nickie Giovanni knew this kid was a nut case and she refused to teach him. He creeped her out. She had brought her concerns to the powers that be. Some poor woman with less academic stature than Giovanni ended up having to tutor him.

    Why was he allowed to stay in school? There needs to be a way to remove students who pose a potential threat.

    That Huntsville killer, the same thing….how do we protect people’s rights and our safety at the same time.

    As for how many guns, it wouldn’t have helped with Cho. I think it has prevented the number of Virginia guns from being used in the commission of felonies in other areas. After reading about the problems back in the early 90’s, I decided I supported the law. I talked it over with several of my NRA friends who weren’t militantly opposed to it either. Perhaps some 15-20 years later, people feel differently. I don’t.

  23. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Moon-howler :
    Wolverine, our privacy laws prevented Fairfax from telling Tech about Cho’s emotional problems/mental illness also.

    And here’s the problem. Information sharing. I get privacy laws, but we’re not talking about someone on Prozac or Uncle Dave can’t get wood anymore….this is squirrel-bait and weapons, like gas and match. If we can do patriot act stuff, I don’t see the problem with calling a nut-job with a gun a nut-job with a gun and treating them appropriately.

  24. I have a problem with this also, Slowpoke. I don’t know the answer. I am can’t remember the time line. There was a time when he was just a nut job. I don’t think he was in possession of the guns for very long before he started blasting away. I want to back up way before he came into possession of guns. Something needed to be done then.

    Somewhere there is a happy medium between locking people away in attics and mental institutions and allowing them free rein on society. I always abhor binary thinking.

  25. @Rez

    Please review that statement about shotguns. If you are depending on those “facts”, you might be unpleasantly surprised. At household distances, there is, effectively, NO spread. One must aim all weapons. And secondly, shotguns will fire through walls. Penetration is dependent on shot version and distance to the wall.

    Google Box of Truth. Realistic testing of ammo against structures.

    Please train with whatever weapon you own. And make sure of what is behind your target.

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