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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Governor Vetoes Bill Allowing Military Personnel Under 21 to Have CHP

Yesterday Governor Terry McAuliffe announced he had vetoed HB1582, a bill that would have allowed active duty and retired military members who are under the age of 21 to apply for concealed handgun permits.  The Governor stated:
Contrary to the assumption of House Bill 1582, weapons familiarization training as a component of an individual's military basic training does not qualify that individual to carry weapons in follow-on service. 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.

My concerns about the bill are in no way a reflection of my respect and support for the brave young men and women who serve our nation in uniform. I have made this decision to veto this bill after consultation with military leadership, including Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Admiral John Harvey, USN (Ret), who dealt with this issue extensively throughout his 39-year career in our Navy. House Bill 1582 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.
Governor McAuliffe is the one who reflects an incomplete understanding of the CHP process.  It also plays into the stereotype that CHP holders don't seek additional training beyond the basic requirements to apply for a permit.  If McAuliffe completely understood it, he would know that the current process allows someone who had only completed a hunter safety course to qualify for a CHP.

I've never served in the military but I have to believe that "weapons familiarization training" provided during basic training has to at least provide the level provided in a hunter safety course.  Even if someone who completed basic training but was disqualified for medical or other reasons that resulted in an honorable discharge would have the basic knowledge to be approved for a CHP.  We trust these folks to defend our nation but we don't trust them to properly carry a concealed firearm?

The Governor also vetoed HB1432, a bill that authorizes any person to carry a switchblade knife concealed when such knife is carried for the purpose of engaging in a lawful profession or lawful recreational activity the performance of which is aided by the use of a switchblade knife. The bill removes switchblade knives from the list of weapons the selling, bartering, giving, or furnishing of which is a Class 4 misdemeanor. McAuliffe's veto message stated in part:

There is no compelling need to add to the list of weapons that can be lawfully concealed from public view and easily traded. Legalizing the concealed carry of switchblade knives would needlessly endanger the lives of Virginians. Furthermore, the laws of the United States prohibit the manufacture, transportation or distribution of switchblade knives.

HB1582 passed the House of Delegates 78-19, a veto proof margin that included a significant number of Democrats.  It passed the State Senate 24-15 with Senator Frank Wagner not voting.  That is three votes short of being able to override the Governor's veto.  Presuming that Senator Wagner, who is running for Governor touting his Second Amendment bona fides, votes with the majority, that leaves the total two short.  Some of those who voted against the bill live in areas representing a large number of military personnel.  Gun owners should immediately contact their Delegate and State Senator and urge them to override the Governor's veto.

HB1432 failed to pass either house by a veto proof margin.  Its fate faces an uphill climb to find the votes to override the veto.

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