Governor McAuliffe Vetoes bill to expand concealed handgun permits

FILE - Inside the Waistband (IWB) Holster to Conceal Carry Firearms, Photo Date: 6/22/15 (MGN Online)

RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill Monday that would allow members of the military to apply for and receive concealed handgun permits at age 18.

The bill would have expanded the eligibility for concealed handgun permits for individuals who are 18 or older and on active military duty or have been honorably discharged from the service.

HB 1582 was introduced by Del. Jeff Campbell, R-Marion. Campbell has stated that the bill would increase concealed-handgun permit reciprocity with other states.

Currently, Virginia permits are recognized throughout the Southeast except in Georgia. Campbell said his bill would change that by “removing the sole impediment to recognition of Virginia concealed carry permit holders by the state of Georgia,” thereby granting permit holders full passage throughout the southern I-95 corridor.

Currently, Virginia permits are recognized in 32 states.

While it is currently 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.

You can read the Governor’s full veto statement below:

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1582. The bill would allow any person 18 years of age or older and on active military duty or honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces or the Virginia National Guard who has completed basic training to apply for a concealed handgun permit.

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 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. I have made the 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.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.


Terence R. McAuliffe

Capital News Service contributed to this report.

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