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McDonnell Shift on One-Gun-a-Month

Rosalind Helderman

Maybe Creigh Deeds' campaign should send a copy of this story by my colleague Freddy Kunkle, filed this weekend from Virginia's biggest gun show, to former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder.


Because in the story, Republican Bob McDonnell says his position on Virginia's law limiting handgun purchases to one a month has changed. He voted for it in the legislature; now he says it should be repealed.

That law was a signature achievement of Wilder's. That Deeds opposed it--and McDonnell supported it--was one reason Wilder withheld his endorsement from Deeds during the 2005 race for attorney general between the two.

It's also one reason why Deeds picked up the surprising support of the NRA in that campaign. But the NRA's nod is probably out of reach for the Democrat this year, given that he's shifted on guns too. In response to the Virginia Tech shootings, long-time gun rights advocate Deeds now supports closing the so-called gun show loophole. Which McDonnell opposes.

Is McDonnell moving on the issue to make amends with the NRA? In Kunkle's story, McDonnell says he supports repealing the computerized background checks have made it unnecessary.

McDonnell has been aggressively courting Wilder, whose is unpredictable enough to be worth the Republican's time. And, in an interview last week, Wilder said he'd like to hear from Deeds about a variety of issues before making up his mind.

Still, he also indicated that one-gun-a-month remains an important issue to him.

McDonnell's move may kill his already unlikely chances of getting Wilder's nod. It's not clear how it will play with voters.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  July 27, 2009; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Virginia Tech massacre  
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I'm going to do my part to help relieve traffic congestion in Northern Virginia, since Virginia's state government won't. I'm hoping to move to Virginia Beach next year.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | July 27, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

One gun a month is a bit excessive, you must admit. Second Amendment rights aside, this law directly affects the free market. Gun sales, especially in a moderate-to-conservative state such as Virginia, are an important part of the economy. We're all very sensitive to the Virginia Tech tragedy, and none of us want our schools or our neighborhoods to be less safe; but we don't want government, even state government, extending too far into the free market. It's not a good precedent.

Not affiliated with any party.

Posted by: paperback_wizard | July 29, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

And, as is pointed out in the More on Guns and Gubs story, Deeds is in favor of repealing the One Gun a Month law, as well; so I doubt this issue will be the tipping point in receiving Governor Wilder's endorsement.

Not affiliated with any party.

Posted by: paperback_wizard | July 29, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

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