ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Virginia leads the nation in the number of legally owned machine guns that are fully automatic.
Federal figures show there were 30,220 registered fully automatic machine guns in Virginia as of March. Florida had the second-highest total with 29,128, followed by California with 28,774.
The annual report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says there were nearly 500,000 registered machine guns nationally.
An ATF spokeswoman told The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/XEJx24 ) that privacy issues prevent the agency from releasing a breakdown of ownership by category.
Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police executive director Dana Schrad says fully automatic machine guns are rarely used to commit crimes. She says the weapons also are less of a threat because authorities know who own them.
Information from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com