Early reports indicate the mass murderer at Virginia Tech may have used 9 mm pistols in his crime.

Daniel Webster, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, says Virginia has "a very lax set of gun laws," and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gives the state a grade of C-minus.

Among the state's rules for gun purchase and ownership:

* There is a one-handgun-per-month limit on sales, but no state license or permit is required to buy a handgun.

* There are no state limits on assault weapons and magazines. An AK47 is as easy to buy as a hunting rifle.

* No background check is required for gun purchases at gun shows, swap meets, or through newspaper or Internet ads. A check is required at federally licensed gun stores.

* There's no state requirement that gun owners register their firearms, making it harder for police to track gun traffickers and guns used in crimes.

* State law forbids city or county governments from enacting their own tougher gun laws.

* Students and employees at Virginia Tech are forbidden to bring firearms onto campus. Ironically, a graduate student wrote an opinion piece last summer in the Roanoke Times complaining that he would feel safer if he could bring his licensed handgun with him to campus. *