McAuliffe vetoes domestic violence gun bills

Todd Gilbert

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday vetoed legislation that would have eased rules governing the carrying of concealed handguns for individuals who obtain a protective order against other individuals.

The legislation, sponsored by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, and an identical bill that originated in the Senate, would have created a 45-day period during which someone granted a protective order could carry a concealed handgun without first completing safety training and application requirements.

Gilbert, a former prosecutor who now works as a criminal defense attorney, said in an interview that the veto by McAuliffe, a Democrat, denied women an opportunity to protect themselves when threatened with harm from a violent boyfriend or husband.

“His reasoning effectively substitutes his judgment for that of a woman in fear for her life deciding how best to protect herself and her children,” Gilbert said.

McAuliffe’s veto message rejected Gilbert’s argument.

“Domestic violence situations can be extremely volatile, and all too often result in serious injury or death,” McAuliffe said. “In fact, when firearms are present in a domestic violence situation, a woman is five times more likely to die. In 2014, Virginia experienced 112 family and intimate-partner-related homicides, 66 of which occurred with a firearm.”

Gilbert said organizations that advocate for victims of domestic violence refused to back the legislation, which he attributed to their ideological predispositions.

“They tend to show a more liberal ideology on such things,” Gilbert said. “It did not surprise me they were against it.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or