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Afternoon Read: Charged Reactions to VA Gun Legislation

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In a major win for pro-gun advocates, the Virginia Senate voted to repeal a 19-year-old law Monday that prohibits state residents from purchasing more than one hand gun a month.

Enacted by former Gov. Doug Wilder, the ban is intended to stop Virginia guns from being used in crimes up and down the East Coast.

With Monday’s 21-20 vote falling along party lines, the supporters and opponents of the bill outside the Legislature are similarly, and predictably, colored in blue and red.

Red State Virginia celebrated the victory and called the standing ban unconstitutional.

“In the struggle to make Virginia the friendliest state to the Second Amendment, a major victory is within our grasp.”

But Blue Virginia said the current ban is not in violation of residents’ Second Amendment rights.

"To be sure, the one-handgun-a-month limit, even with the exceptions in the current law, does mean someone in Virginia can't do all the things a gun purchaser can do in say Nevada. But to say it violates the Second Amendment is absurd, nor has anyone ever shown how any law-abiding Virginian who wants to purchase a gun has been denied in any way the ability to exercise their second amendment rights."

Former Virginia governors and current U.S. Senate candidates Tim Kaine and George Allen also jumped in the discussion:

Kaine, a Democrat, said in a statement:

The long-standing law strikes an appropriate balance between the 2nd amendment rights of Virginians and the public safety interests of our citizens.

He then made a jab at the Republican-controlled senate that passed the bill, strongly urging Governor McDonnell to veto this legislation.

“Instead of focusing on jobs and the economy, Republicans in the General Assembly have taken a misguided and disappointing deviation into divisive social issues.”

The Richmond Times quoted Allen, a Republican and Kaine’s main competitor in the Senate race, saying at a  “Sportsmen for Allen” event:

"I'm not in favor of gun rationing," he said. "I wasn't for it when it passed, and I see no need for it."

The Virginian-Pilot’s Bill Sizemore pointed out that while the one-handgun-a-month repeal bill is getting the most attention, there are a number of other bills floating in the Virginia legislature that, if passed, would change the landscape of gun laws in the state.

Among the measures is a bill that would allow any lawful owner of a firearm to carry it concealed without a permit, overturning a currently enacted law that requires residents to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Another bill—which Sizemore wrote is well on its way to enactment—is a measure that would prohibit localities from requiring fingerprints with applications for concealed-handgun permits.

Read more from Sizemore to find out the gun legislation currently awaiting vote in the Virginia senate.

* Today is a day of celebration for gay rights activists around the country. A federal appeals court ruled California's same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional, putting the politically-charged, voter approved law on the path to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The news is especially salient in Maryland as Mayor Gov. Martin O’Malley tries to push his legalization of same-sex marriage bill through the state legislature this session.

O’Malley issued a statement on the court’s ruling today:

“Many people understand that over the long term, the principles of equal protection under the law and of equal respect for the freedom of all will prevail. Today’s decision is further evidence of that truth.”

* The trial is underway for Julius Henson—a political consultant who allegedly designed a robocall on an election night that told African-American voters to stay home even though the polls were still open.

He faces five counts of election law violations for his involvement in the robocall for the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of former Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.

Read more here.

* The D.C. Council voted to repeal what would have been the nation’s first government-sponsored online gambling program.

Online gambling was legalized in the district last year, but the program was never started.

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