- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to repeal the state’s long-standing ban on purchasing more than one handgun per month, one of the top priorities of the gun-rights lobby for the 2012 session.

Proponents of the measure argue that updated technology has rendered unnecessary the current law on the books, which was passed in the 1990s in order to curb illegal gun trafficking from Virginia to other states along the East Coast. Federal law prohibits the transfer of guns across state lines aside from gun manufacturers, wholesalers and dealers.

Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, Prince William Republican, also argued that the law contains so many exceptions — for people like la- enforcement officers, antique firearms dealers and concealed carry permit holders — that all it does is punish law-abiding citizens who may want to purchase one gun for protection and another for target practice.

“This law may have had a purpose when it was passed originally, but the rationale has been neutered by the exceptions that now exist,” he said.

Three other states — California, Maryland and New Jersey — have such a provision on the books.

“Why do 46 states not have this law?” Mr. Lingamfelter asked his House colleagues Tuesday. “And why did South Carolina repeal theirs in 2004?”

Delegate Patrick A. Hope, Arlington Democrat, said Virginians would still be able to get by with purchasing one handgun per month.

“We were the gun-running capital of the nation,” he said. “Let’s be serious — is one gun a month really an undue burden for our constituents?”

Gov. Bob McDonnell supported the ban when he was a delegate representing Virginia Beach. However, he now says he now favors repealing it, also citing improved technology that wasn’t in place when the measure was passed.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee has approved its own legislation to repeal the ban, which could face a final vote from the full body sometime this week.

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