By Megan Corsano
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed two bills Monday relating to concealed weapons – one involving handgun permits and the other pertaining to switchblade knives.
The first bill, HB 1582, would have allowed members of the military over the age of 18 to apply for concealed handgun permits if they are on active duty or had an honorable discharge and had received basic training.
The current law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer.
The governor said in his veto message that the bill “reflects an incomplete understanding of weapons qualification practices within our military and is an unwarranted expansion in the number of people allowed to carry handguns in the Commonwealth.”
“It would do nothing to protect the safety of our citizens,” McAuliffe said.
HB 1582 ended up on the governor’s desk after a 78-19 vote in the House of Delegates and a 24-15 vote in the Virginia Senate.
The governor defended the veto by saying that under the bill, “An individual who has completed basic training but who subsequently was disqualified (for medical or other reasons) from having access to weapons could nevertheless apply for a concealed handgun permit.”
McAuliffe said the decision to veto the bill was made after consulting military leadership and isn’t a reflection of his respect and support for the members of the armed forces.
The second bill the governor vetoed, HB 1432, would have legalized the carrying of a concealed switchblade knife “when it is carried for the purpose of engaging in a lawful profession or lawful recreational activity the performance of which is aided by the knife.”
According to the governor’s veto message, “lawful profession” and “recreational activity” are not defined by Virginia law. As a result, McAuliffe said, enforcing the law would be a challenge.
The bill would have also removed switchblades from the list of weapons that are illegal to sell or trade in the commonwealth.
“Legalizing the concealed carry of switchblade knives would needlessly endanger the lives of Virginians,” McAuliffe said.
The bill had passed the House in a 57-39 vote and the Senate with a 23-16 vote.
Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University's Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.