Virginia is poised to lift its one-per-month limit on handgun purchases, with the Republican-controlled state Senate expected to do away with the decades-old cap Friday.
The Senate passed the measure in a preliminary vote Thursday, one day after the House passed its own version. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has indicated he will sign legislation lifting the purchase limit.
Pro-gun lawmakers have tried for years to eliminate the one-per-month cap, imposed in the early 1990s under Democratic governor Doug Wilder in an effort to curb gun trafficking.
Bills to remove the limit have passed the Republican-dominated House before. But they always died in Senate at the hands of the Democrats and moderate Republicans who long controlled the upper chamber.
That the Senate bill made it out of committee and passed a preliminary floor vote suggests that Richmond has grown friendlier to gun rights since Republicans took control of the evenly divided Senate last month.
“It’s going pretty well,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. “It’s by no means perfect. There are some good bills that aren’t making it, but there are good bills that are. And I think we’re seeing much more progress than we’ve seen the last several years.”
Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) had a less sanguine take.
“We’re going to become the gun-distribution center of the East Coast, just like we were before,” Saslaw said.