Four gun violence prevention organizations have called on Virginia Governor McDonnell to veto three gun bills currently on his desk that they believe would put state residents at greater risk of gun violence.
The Virginia Center for Public Safety (VACPS), the Virginia Chapters of the Million Mom March, Protest Easy Guns (PEG) and the Angel Fund have issued a statement saying that signing SB 334, SB 408 and HB 1217 would violate the governor’s earlier declaration that "the foremost obligation of government is public safety."
SB 334 would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring loaded handguns into establishments that have a liquor license in Virginia, SB 408 would allow those without concealed carry permits to keep loaded handguns in their vehicles or boats if stored in a locked container, while HB 1217 requires the Virginia Board of Education to establish a standardized program of gun safety education for students in elementary school.
With respect to this last bill, the coalition referred to "numerous" studies that demonstrate that familiarizing children with guns makes them more likely to handle firearms when adults are not present.
"The governor talks about the importance of public safety, but in practice he has cut millions of dollars in public safety funding from the state budget and supported a number of dangerous changes to Virginia’s gun laws," said VACPS board member Lori Haas. "Commonwealth families now have one last chance to hold him to his word and insist he veto [these bills]."
McDonnell has until April 12 to make his decision.