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Va. governor signs repeal of 1-handgun-a-month law

Tuesday - 2/28/2012, 5:55pm  ET

By LARRY O'DELL
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Bob McDonnell on Tuesday signed a bill that repeals a law limiting individual handgun purchases to one per month, passed in 1993 when Virginia was a haven for gun runners.

McDonnell's signature is no surprise. He had earlier expressed support for the bill, which gained final General Assembly passage on Feb. 15.

A McDonnell spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The signing comes after McDonnell met with families of people killed or injured in the April 2007 shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The families had hoped to persuade him to veto the bill.

The law was a major legislative legacy of Democratic former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, passed when Virginia was a favorite armory for East Coast criminals.

The law was intended to staunch the flow of guns from Virginia to New York City and other cities with tough laws. In 1991, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found that 40 percent of the 1,236 guns found at crime scenes in New York had been purchased in Virginia.

Colin Goddard, who was wounded in the 2007 Tech shootings, says, "The governor has the interest of those who profit from selling firearms and bullets more so than the vast majority of Virginians."

And Omar Samaha, whose sister was killed at Virginia Tech, says, " "We're going to see a proliferation of handguns throughout the illegal market from the primary market."

WTOP reporter Hank Silverberg contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)