McAuliffe Kills Domestic Violence Self-Defense Bill in Virginia

McAuliffe Kills Domestic Violence Self-Defense Bill in Virginia
Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a measure that would have allowed victims over 21 who had a protective order to legally carry a gun right away.web photo

A bill that would have allowed victims of domestic violence to carry concealed firearms for self-defense, without needing to go through the time-consuming process to obtain a permit, made its way through the Virginia legislature, only to be vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe when it got to his desk Friday.

According to this story from freebeacon.com, House Bill 1852 would have allowed anyone in Virginia who has a protective order and is over 21 to legally carry a concealed firearm for up to 45 days after the order is issued.

The individual would then have an additional 45 days to carry concealed if they apply for a permanent concealed-handgun permit, which can take that long to process. The intent of the bill was to allow people with protective orders to have an immediately available, legal way to defend themselves until they can obtain a permanent permit, if they choose to do so.

The bill passed by a vote of 63-31 in the house of delegates and 26-14 in the senate—hardly contentious votes.

McAuliffe said in a statement that the bill bypasses the training and background check requirements associated with obtaining a Virginia concealed handgun permit and said it would make domestic violence situations worse, not better, according to the story.

“The bill perpetuates the dangerous fiction that the victims of domestic violence will be safer by arming themselves,” McAuliffe said. “It would inject firearms into a volatile domestic violence situation, making that situation less safe, not more.”

"In 2014, there were 112 family and intimate-partner related homicides in Virginia. Sixty-six of those deaths were with a firearm. I will not allow this bill to become law when too many Virginia women have already fallen victim to firearms violence at the hands of their intimate partner."

McAuliffe doesn’t seem to realize that women who would be potential unarmed victims could be armed self-defenders who don’t become victims.

“Governor McAuliffe claims we don’t need to introduce a gun into a ‘volatile situation,’ where there is a protective order in place,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League in the story. “He’s completely wrong. That situation is exactly where we DO want to introduce a firearm. Knowledge that the victim is armed is a great incentive for the aggressor to stay away.”

Van Cleave added that the first 48 hours after a protective order is issued are the most crucial time for a potential victim to be prepared to defend themselves.

“Protective orders really enrage the aggressor and the vetoed bill would have allowed the victim to be fully armed, yet in a discreet manner, even those initial 48 hours,” Van Cleave said in the story. “Sadly, the governor’s veto will likely cost innocent lives.”

This story from wric.com says McAuliffe has now vetoed 37 bills from the General Assembly's 2017 session—and 108 during his four-year term as governor, surpassing the totals of any of his predecessors.

"This new record is the disappointing result of four years of failed leadership by a disengaged governor, and is certainly not something to be celebrated," Speaker William Howell and other GOP House leaders said in the wric.com story. "Divided government has been the norm over the past two decades of Virginia politics, but this governor has brought a new level of animosity and acrimony than we've ever seen."

McAuliffe also vetoed companion bills HB 1853 and SB 1300, which would have provided funding to businesses that offer free gun safety and training programs for victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, or family abuse. This legislation also provided for a list of firearm training courses approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Services to anyone getting a protective order.

The fifth gun bill was SB 1362, which would have allowed military personnel who are not on duty to carry a concealed firearm in Virginia, as long as they have their military ID card. McAuliffe said the bill would create “a separate class of individuals who do not require a concealed handgun permit.”

The General Assembly will reconvene on April 5 to consider overriding McAuliffe's vetoes, the story says.

The governor made an enemy of many gun rights advocates last year when he vetoed a similar bill that would have allowed domestic violence victims with protective orders to carry temporarily. Then McAuliffe said he believed if women carried firearms for self-defense, that the guns would be taken away and used against them.

According to this story from richmond.com, McAuliffe is also going on the anti-gun offensive, having introduced a legislative amendment that would restrict residents to purchasing one handgun a month.

The amendment would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor for anyone other than a licensed firearms dealer to buy more than one handgun within a 30-day period. The story says the amendment is unlikely to pass the General Assembly.