McAuliffe says Virginia is the go-to state for criminals to buy weapons in bulk, wants change

Governor Terry McAuliffe calls Virginia the go-to state for criminals to buy guns in bulk which is why he’s pushing to change the laws to make it tougher to buy them.

Under his proposed amendments to Senate Bill 1023, he would like to restore Virginia’s One-Handgun-a-Month law.

“One-Handgun-a-Month was enacted almost a quarter century ago to counter Virginia’s shameful reputation as the gun-running capital of the East Coast. Five years ago, the General Assembly took the ill-advised step of repealing this common-sense limitation. As a result, Virginia is once again becoming the go-to state for criminals to purchase weapons in bulk,” stated Governor McAuliffe.

Brooklyn’s biggest drug bust in history was announced three weeks ago.

22 of the 24 defendants arrested for their alleged involvement in the gun bust were from Virginia and almost all of the over 200 guns were bought in Virginia, according to NYC law enforcement.

The defendants were also heard on wiretaps talking about how easy it is to buy guns in Virginia.

Now McAuliffe says he wants to restore a law that used to be on the books.

It was enacted in 1993 by then Governor L. Douglas Wilder, but repealed by Former Governor Bob McDonnell in 2012.

The proposed amendment would make it illegal to buy more than one handgun in a 30 day period by Virginia Residents and out of state purchasers.

“This was tried and it didn’t work. During the McDonnell administration, the bill was repealed,” said Bob Marcus, the owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in Norfolk.

He said he doesn’t agree with the amendment being proposed by the Governor and thinks the laws should be tougher on criminals not those trying to legally buy guns.

“I don’t like rationing a legitimate product,” said Marcus.

He said no gun dealer in the state supports or encourages gun trafficking.

“Evidently, the penalties are not sufficient to deter people from doing it,” said Marcus.

He is doubtful the proposed amendment will pass.

“There’s no question that politics are at play,” said Marcus.

Attorney General Mark R. Herring issued the following statement on Gov. McAuliffe’s proposal to restore Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law:

“This is a great step to restore a commonsense measure that never should have been repealed in the first place. Virginia’s weak gun laws make it too easy for guns to get into the hands of criminals, making our families, communities, and especially our law enforcement officers less safe, not to mention the heartbreak and damage these guns cause in neighboring states. When you’ve got gun runners on tape bragging about how weak our gun laws are it should be a pretty clear signal that something needs to change.”

The amendment would make it a misdemeanor for someone to buy more than one handgun within a 30 day period.

On April 5 at the reconvened session the amendment will go to the Senate first for a vote.

The amendment “is a major step forward in making Virginia a safer place and ending its role in the proliferation of firearms up and down the East Coast,” said Governor McAuliffe.

Related:

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Virginia Governor, Attorney General call for changes in gun laws after bust in New York City