U.S. states ease gun laws

Feb. 24, 2010 at 8:05 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- While federal gun laws haven't been tightened since Barack Obama became U.S. president, states have expanded gun rights, a review of gun laws indicates.

In Virginia, the General Assembly last week approved a bill that would allow people to carry firearms in bars and restaurants serving alcohol, and the House of Delegates voted to repeal a 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Lawmakers in Arizona and Wyoming have about a half-dozen pro-gun measures on their plate, including one that would allow residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

Montana and Tennessee legislatures passed measures last year that would exempt their states from federal regulation of firearms and ammunition made, sold and used in-state, the Times review showed. At least three other states have similar bills pending.

Meanwhile, gun control advocates said Obama hasn't delivered on campaign promises, such as closing a loophole allowing unlicensed dealers at gun shows to sell firearms without background checks, reviving the assault weapons ban and pushing states to release data about guns used in crimes.

He also signed bills that allow guns to be carried in national parks and in luggage on Amtrak trains.

"We expected a very different picture at this stage," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The gun control group last month issued a report card that gave the administration failing grades in all seven of the group's major indicators.

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