VA Tech victims speak with Gov. about handgun decision

Posted at 10:28 PM, Feb 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-01 10:30:12-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Virginia Tech families react to Governor Bob McDonnell’s decision to sign legislation repealing the one-gun-a month law.

The law was put into place in 1993 to combat drug trafficking.

“It was a completely supported policy by law enforcement and public safety officials,” argued Lori Haas, whose daughter was injured in the 2007 massacre.  “He was just pandering to the gun lobby when he signed the repeal.”

In a last-minute attempt to change the governor’s mind, several Virginia Tech victims and their families spoke personally with McDonnell over the weekend.

The governor described the meeting as “emotional” but said he defended his decision to sign the legislation.

“I supported the Second Amendment over many years and what I believe are a number of important changes in the law with both the background checks, the straw-man purchases and so forth that I think have certainly improved our criminal justice laws overall,” said  McDonnell.

Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, the legislation’s sponsor, argued advanced technology and state background checks have made the law unnecessary.

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Lingamfelter.  “This bill punished the law abiding community.”

Haas argues too many guns are still ending up in the wrong hands because of weak background checks.

On Wednesday, in a statement, the New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also condemned the governor’s decision to repeal the law.

“In the last two months alone we have had two police officers shot with illegal guns that came from Virginia.” “If they care about innocent people and police officers being shot, they should be strengthening laws- as we have done in New York-to keep guns away from criminals, not weakening them,”said Bloomberg.