Gun control opponents hope to reshape handgun laws
By: William C. Flook Examiner Staff Writer
January 3, 2010
Gun control opponents in Virginia's legislature are proposing what would amount to a vast roll-back of handgun regulations, hoping to capitalize on a friendlier administration in Richmond to undo long-standing firearms restrictions.
Conservative lawmakers have filed a flurry of bills including abolishing the state's one-handgun-per-month rule and allowing college faculty to carry a concealed weapon on campus.
Despite the arrival of Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell, who has an A rating from the National Rifle Association and campaigned on a pro-Second Amendment platform, none of the bills necessarily will have an easy time getting passed when the General Assembly goes into session later this month. Proponents of stronger gun laws have become much more vocal and focused since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and are likely to oppose the measures alongside many legislators.
Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge, is proposing to do away with the Gov. Doug Wilder-era policy that limits a person to buying a single gun a month, arguing the rule "has run its course."
"I don't think it's been a very effective policy," Lingamfelter said. "It hasn't done much to prevent crime; it has done a lot to affect commerce."
Del. Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg, has filed legislation that would legalize bringing guns into a courthouse "when the courthouse is being used for non-judicial activities," according to an online summary.
Del. Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, is proposing that full-time faculty members at state universities be allowed to carry concealed handguns into the classroom, provided they have a permit.
Del. Charles Carrico, R-Galax, authored a bill that would allow permits for concealed handguns to be renewed through the mail. Another of Carrico's bills would change the penalty for bringing a firearm onto school property from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The legislature convenes Jan. 13, and McDonnell is set to be inaugurated three days later. McDonnell replaces Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, who has repeatedly vetoed efforts to weaken gun laws.
The incoming governor has yet to roll out his legislative agenda.