Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Senate committee approves repeal of one-gun-a-month
On an 8-6 vote, the Senate Courts of Justice committee voted today to send the bill to the full Senate.
Virginia has limited gun purchases to one a month since 1994. But, argued Sen. Bill Carrico, R-Greyson, the state has since added numerous exceptions; for instance, the limit doesn’t apply to people with concealed weapons permits.
Carrico — who sponsored the bill — said he also opposes the idea that government can limit a citizen’s purchases at all. The one-gun-a-month law, he said, “penalizes law abiding individuals for the actions of criminals who will never be constrained by laws.”
The bill was supported by the Virginia Citizens Defense League and other gun-rights advocates.
Andy Goddard, whose son Colin was injured in the Virginia Tech shooting, said the one-gun-a-month law was originally intended to reduce gun trafficking, and that it’s still needed.
“We have a terrible trafficking problem in Virginia again,” Goddard said.
Josh Horowitz, director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the bill is needed not to stop Virginians from buying two or three guns, but to stop traffickers from buying 20 or 30.
“We have the tools to stop that now, if we get rid of this bill we won’t,” Horowitz said.
Sen. Toddy Puller, D-Fairfax, proposed carrying the bill over until next year and having the state Crime Commission study the issue, and the impact that repealing the limit might have.
The committee rejected that, and passed the bill.
Locally, Sens. Richard Stuart, Bryce Reeves, Jill Vogel, Ryan McDougle and Tom Garrett all voted in favor of the bill to repeal the limit.