Repealing limits to handgun purchases

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The legislation would repeal the state's limit of one handgun purchase a month. A vote today now sends the bill to the full House.

In 1993 Governor Wilder put into effect a gun law that garnered national attention. 17-years later, some lawmakers want to remove the law, originally intended to crack down on illegal gun activity.

Today Dontel Baker is taking aim at improving at his new hobby.

"I own a Smith and Wesson 45 and I own a .22 rifle," said Baker.

If he wanted to add to his collection, Virginia law would limit Baker to one handgun purchase every 30 days. Delegate Scott Lingamfelter wants the law repealed, saying technology and exemptions make it obsolete.

"This is not an attempt to "weaken" enforcement, it's an attempt to bring it into the 21st century," said Lingamfelter.

Since the law was established in 1993 background checks have been put in place. Exemptions include permits for a 7-day multi-gun purchase, and allowing those with a concealed handgun license to buy more than one handgun at a time.

"Handguns are the primary weapon of choice for criminals," said Lori Haas, Virginia Center for Public Safety.

Lori Haas has the support of at least 6 delegates who voted against the repeal during Friday's house committee hearing.

"If House Bill 49 passes then criminals will be able to buy as many guns as they want, as often as they want," said Haas.

Adam Harrison at Dominion Shooting Range says the current law affects law-abiding citizens.

"A husband wants to buy it for his wife and himself or vice versa, to have more than one gun in the home to be able to defend themselves," said Harrison.

Opponents say if the one-gun-a-month law keeps at least one criminal from gaining access, nothing should be changed.

Bill 49 passed through a House Committee today with 6 of the 21 delegates voting against it. It now must be voted on by the full House of Delegates.

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