RICHMOND, Virginia - The following was released today by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence regarding Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore:
Jerry W. Kilgore got the NRA's endorsement and immediately started discussing dismantling a state law that the group opposes. But does Mr. Kilgore even know what the purpose of a one-handgun-per month law is?
Anti-trafficking laws like one-handgun-a-month statutes have been passed by states like Virginia not to interfere with law-abiding gun owners -- but specifically, and only, to make it harder for criminals to get guns. That's because gun traffickers recruit "straw buyers" who can pass Brady background checks, to buy large numbers of guns intended for the illegal market. The Virginia law shut down these large-volume sales.
"Repealing Virginia's one-handgun-a-month law would be a stupid thing to do, because it only keeps guns out of the hands of thugs," said Jim Brady, chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the former press secretary to President Ronald Reagan. "Jerry Kilgore ought to have his head examined."
"The law is working to reduce crime in our state, we don't understand why politicians would pander to the criminal element," said Jim Sollo, executive director of Virginians Against Handgun Violence and member of the Virginia Million Mom March Chapters.
A study of gun trafficking trends by the Brady Center and published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1996 showed the law had led to an immediate reduction in guns sold in Virginia being recovered in crime elsewhere. In the four years before the law took effect, 34 percent of firearms traced to crimes in the Northeastern United States were found to have originated in Virginia, while in the two years after the law took effect, only 15.5 percent of the crime guns came from Virginia.
In addition, the Virginia State Crime Commission concluded that, "Virginia's (One-Handgun-Per-Month) statute has had its intended effect of reducing Virginia's status as a source state for gun trafficking. The imposition of the law does not appear to create an onerous burden for law-abiding gun purchasers." The success of Virginia's law led California and Maryland to adopt similar laws.