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 (AP) – Virginia’s ban on buying more than one handgun a month would be repealed under a bill that passed a House committee on Friday.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