Handgun-A-Month Law

March 1, 2012 by staff 

Handgun-A-Month Law, Almost 20 years before he signed the repeal of the one-handgun-a-month law, Governor Bob McDonnell, then a state delegate, voted for the measure that was designed to reduce handgun trafficking in Virginia.

So how did the law work during those two decades? Was it effective?

The patron of the repeal effort, Scott Lingamfelter (R-31st District) says the law wasn’t needed anymore.

“Quite frankly, it was overtaken by the improved technology and the improved background checks that we have now in place,” Lingamfelter told CBS-6 News.

But the bill originally was designed to keep traffickers who could pass background checks from buying multiple pistols for sale to those with crime on their minds.

Back in the early 90s, Virginia had a nasty reputation as Guns ‘R Us. It still does.

“Virginia’s response with one-gun-a-month was to really address a multi-state concern,” said Dana Schrad, director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of police. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s she worked with the State Crime Commission looking at the trafficking issue.

The concern “was the ability, the ease of being able to purchase guns in Virginia through a straw man,” Schrad said. Even though straw purchases (someone who can pass a background check buying weapons for someone who can’t) are illegal, they are difficult to intercept and prove, since private gun sales are legal in Virginia and don’t require background checks.

So was the law effective during its 20-year run?

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