Virginia House gives preliminary approval to repeal of 17-year old gun-a-month law
The House of Delegates on Monday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would repeal Virginia's 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun per month.
Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, the bill's sponsor, argued that the law is ineffective and unnecessary. The Prince William Republican said the General Assembly has carved out many exceptions to it already, including a provision that exempts more than 214,000 people who hold concealed weapons permits.
He also argued that instant electronic background checks have become so advanced since the law was enacted in 1993 that the law is no longer necessary. Besides, other laws already prohibit gun-running handguns between states, Lingamfelter said. Anyone who buys more than five handguns within a week would also be reported to the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, he said.
"One-gun-a-month does not stop crime," Lingamfelter said. He said the law has only hampered law-abiding citizens.
But Del. Joseph Morrissey (D-Richmond), warned that the legislature was on its way to repealing a measure that contributed to reducing homicides in Richmond from 150 a month to 30 a month. Morrissey said the proposed repeal would be an invitation to traffickers to buy large amounts of guns and move them up and down the East Coast, a conduit once known as the Iron Pipeline.
"Right now, we are unraveling two decades of progress," he said. Morrissey also criticized the way in which the bill was docketed for public comment, saying it rolled through the committee with little advance notice last week.
February 15, 2010; 5:25 PM ET
Categories: Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates
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