Virginia Gov.: Women Can't Protect Themselves

Image: Virginia Legislature
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.BOB BROWN

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has struck a solid blow against gun rights for women in his state by vetoing a bill that would have given domestic violence victims under protective orders the temporary right to carry concealed firearms without having to wait for a permit to be approved, because he believes the guns would be turned against the women using them for self-defense.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, called the legislation “a very, very dangerous gamble that will lead to more tragedies.”

He also said that, while the legislation "may have been well-intentioned" it would make it easier for "deadly firearms to be inserted into volatile situations where the gun could be turned against the person who sought it for protection, according to this story from the Washington Post.

The bill's companion legislation, sponsored by Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) and Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier), would have allowed residents who had obtained a protective order to carry a concealed weapon for 45 days without having to undergo the normal permit-application and training process. The person would have to be otherwise eligible to possess a firearm, the story says.

McAuliffe said in the story that a law passed earlier this year requires anyone subject to a protective order to sell or give away any weapons or face felony charges, and that the vetoed bill would have undermined that law.

Gilbert remains firm in his position that his legislation would have helped women protect themselves when they are most vulnerable.

"Women who find themselves in crisis like this should not have to wait in line at the courthouse to be able to take immediate steps to protect themselves or their children," Gilbert said in the story. "Even though the domestic violence advocates don't like this approach, they'll be the first to tell you it's that moment when the woman leaves the home, or just after the arrest is made of the abuser, that is the most critical time for danger. And that's the time when somebody needs to be able to act quickly to protect themselves and not have to wait for some bureaucrat to process their paperwork at the courthouse."

A prominent news story last summer detailed an example of the situations Gilbert's bill was intended to remedy.

Carol Bowne was stabbed to death on June 3 in her own driveway by her ex-boyfriend, against whom she had a protective order. She had been waiting weeks for her firearms permit to be ready in her home state of New Jersey. Her ex, Michael Eitel, later hanged himself.