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By Sean Gorman October 31, 2011

Anti-gang law signed in 2010

Gov. Bob McDonnell, while campaigning for governor in 2009, made a series of proposals to combat gang crime in the commonwealth.

Among his ideas was expanding so-called "gang free zones" that provide enhanced penalties for gang-related crime occurring within them.

"Bob McDonnell will propose the expansion of 'gang-free school zones,' into 'gang free zones,'" similar to the drug-free zones currently in our state laws," McDonnell's campaign said in an August 2009 news release.

McDonnell said the zones would be used to crack down on gang activity at school bus stops, community centers, parks, libraries and state hospitals.

At the time, drug-free zones were limited to school grounds, as well as any public property within 1,000 feet of elementary schools, high schools and colleges.

What"s the status of that promise?

Shortly after becoming governor in January 2010, McDonnell backed a House bill that called for expanding the zones to include any school bus stop as well as any property of a publicly owned or operated community center, park, library or hospital.

The General Assembly passed a watered down version of the bill that expanded the zones to the buildings and grounds of any publicly owned or operated community center or recreation center.

McDonnell signed the measure. His spokeswoman, Taylor Thornley, said the governor thought the bill was a "great improvement" over the previous law.

McDonnell pledged to propose legislation but did not guarantee a perfect outcome. We rate this a Promise Kept.

Our Sources

Bob McDonnell for Governor, "McDonnell: Make Virginia a gang free zone," August 2009.

Legislative Information Services,HB 682,accessed October 27, 2011.

E-mail from Taylor Thornley, spokeswoman for Governor Bob McDonnell, October 28, 2011.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, "Governor Bob McDonnell"s legislative initiatives move forward," February 20, 2010.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, "Sunday marks 100th day of McDonnell administration," April 24, 2010.

Gov. Bob McDonnell op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Significant accomplishments in 100 days," April 25, 2010.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Status of McDonnell Bills," February 17, 2010.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, "McDonnell tallies victories, setbacks in first month," February 17, 2010.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, "Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker announces governor's vision for public safety," December 16, 2010.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, "New public safety measures take effect Thursday," June 29, 2010.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, "Operation Rolling Thunder targets violent crime and gang activity in Newport News, June 8, 2011.

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