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November 10, 2011

Virginia and One Gun A Month

A likely re-count not withstanding, Tuesday’s elections in Virginia have given Republicans control of the State Senate. This could be monumental for America’s firearms industry and Second Amendment advocates in the Old Dominion as numerous gun bills, some stalled in the previous session, are introduced again.   Among the bills likely to be heard is a repeal of the state’s one-gun a month restriction.

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. Of course, 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.

A great example of this is South Carolina. When the Palmetto State repealed its one-gun-a-month law (allowing for more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens), like the rest of the U.S., South Carolinians experienced a decrease in violent crime. This decrease has continued even as sales of firearms have reached unprecedented levels.

In its Heller and McDonald decisions, the Supreme Court made clear that the Second Amendment is an individual right. The Virginia Senate should recognize this and repeal one gun a month – a law that only hurts law-abiding citizens.

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