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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 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.
Accordingly, I veto this bill.