Legislation (HB940, SB323) that would overturn Virginia’s One Gun A Month law has already passed the Virginia House of Delegates and is slated to be voted on in the State Senate as early as today. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has said he will sign it into law should it pass.
Despite the fact that Virginia is largely considered to be a pro-gun state, legislators have for years rationed the Second Amendment rights of its citizens with a law that limits handgun purchases to one a month — in effect, treating a constitutionally protected right as nothing more than a privilege.
Limiting the sale of firearms to law-abiding Virginians is premised on the false belief that doing so reduces illegal firearms trafficking. No evidence supports such a claim. In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the significant drop in crime that began in the mid-1990s coincided with more guns being in private possession and more restrictive gun laws being taken off the books. We’re continuing to see this today. As crime continues to drop, we’ve just marked the twentieth straight month that National Instant Criminal Background Check figures, used to gauge firearm sales, increased when compared to the same period the previous year.
As for “one gun a month,” even Bob Ricker, a lobbyist for the anti-gun group Virginians Against Handgun Violence, testified under oath in 2003, “I think one gun a month is silly.”
In its Heller and McDonald decisions, the Supreme Court made clear that the Second Amendment is an individual right. The Virginia Senate should follow the House of Delegates and recognize this by repealing one gun a month – a law that only hurts law-abiding citizens.
Follow Larry Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation on twitter http://twitter.com/lkeane.