RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe had a busy Monday as he vetoed three pieces of legislation that made its way through the General Assembly this year.
McAuliffe vetoed legislation that would allow members of the military to apply for and receive concealed handgun permits at age 18.
House Bill 1582 would have allowed active-duty members of the military and those with honorable discharges between the ages of 18 and 21 to receive concealed handgun permits, provided they have completed basic training.
Under current Virginia law, no one under the age of 21 is eligible for a permit.
While it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase a handgun from a licensed firearm dealer, Virginians between the ages of 18 and 21 can legally buy a handgun in a private sale or receive one as a gift.
McAuliffe said after consultation with military leadership, he decided to veto the bill.
“My concerns about this 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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
McAuliffe went on to say the legislation would do nothing to protect the safety of Virginians.
McAuliffe vetoes ‘Tebow Bill,’ again
For the third consecutive year, McAuliffe vetoed the legislation on school sports eligibility, commonly known as the “Tebow Bill.”
HB 1578 would eliminate a statewide ban prohibiting home-schooled students from participating in high school athletics and other interscholastic activities.
The bill is nicknamed for former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who was allowed to play football for a high school in Florida while he was being home-schooled.
Del. Rob Bell, R-Charlottesville, has introduced similar legislation to the General Assembly each year since 2005.
The bill was narrowly approved by the Virginia senate this session with a 22-18 vote.
“Allowing home-schooled students to participate in interscholastic competitions would disrupt the level playing field Virginia’s public schools have developed over the past century,” McAuliffe said in a press release. “While the bill provides that home-schooled students must demonstrate evidence of progress in order to participate in interscholastic activities, the unique nature of their educational situation precludes conformity to the same standards.”
He went on to say that participation in athletic and academic competitions is a privilege for students who satisfy eligibility requirements.
“Opening participation in those competitions to individuals who are not required to satisfy the same criteria codifies academic inequality in interscholastic competition,” he concluded.
That is the same rationale McAuliffe gave when he vetoed the bill last spring.
Legislation to carry concealed switchblade knives
Governor McAuliffe also vetoed legislation that would allow Virginians to carry a concealed switchblade knife and legalized the sale of them.
Under current law, it is legal to own and open-carry switchblades in Virginia, but it is illegal to conceal-carry certain knives including switchblades, bowie knives and dirks.
House Bill 1432 stated:
“Any person may carry a switchblade knife concealed when such knife is carried for the purpose of engaging in a lawful profession or recreational activity the performance of which is aided by the use of a switchblade knife.”
McAuliffe said Virginia Code does not define “lawful profession” or “recreational activity.”
“This modification will create a burden on law enforcement to determine whether a person is engaged in a lawful profession or recreational activity,” he said in a statement. “The enforcement of this law would be challenging at best.”
He went on to say 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,” said McAuliffe. “Furthermore, the laws of the United States prohibit the manufacture, transportation or distribution of switchblade knives.”