While the commonwealth of Virginia has a proud history of freedom and liberty, Gov. Terry McAuliffe isn’t helping matters any.
On Wednesday, the Virginia Senate failed to override a McAuliffe veto of a series of important self-defense measures that would have helped better equip women who are victims of domestic violence. Yes, you read that right: He vetoed bills that would have made domestic violence victims safer—and many in the Senate apparently were perfectly happy with that.
The measures in question were Senate Bill 1299, Senate Bill 1300, House Bill 1852, and House Bill 1853, sponsored by state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel and Delegate Todd Gilbert. They sought to allow any person who is 21 or older; not prohibited from purchasing, possessing or transporting a firearm; and who are currently protected by an unexpired protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the protective order was issued. This would provide time for the victim to apply for a concealed-carry permit.
SB 1300 and HB 1853 also would have provided funding for reimbursement of training expenses as well as information for those individuals seeking training under the protection of a protective order.
The long and short of it is that Virginia Republicans had tried to save lives of women by temporarily deregulating concealed-carry permits for those with a restraining order, and the measures were approved by the Legislature. But McAuliffe simply couldn’t live with any measure that would make self-defense less difficult in any way—even for battered women. [McAuliffe] vetoed bills that would have made domestic violence victims safer—and many in the Senate apparently were perfectly happy with that.
“Governor McAuliffe claims we don't need to introduce a gun into a ‘volatile situation,’ where there is a protective order in place," Van Cleave told the newspaper. “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 went on to explain that the first few days of a protective order are very critical for women fearing assault.
“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 during those initial 48 hours,” he said. “Sadly, the governor's veto will likely cost innocent lives.”
In fact, Van Cleave is correct. Author and criminologist John Lott, in a column for the Washington Times, reiterated what we all have known for a long time about the ineffectiveness of protection provided by a simple piece of paper. And he pointed out what is obvious to all but apparently those on the anti-gun side of the Second Amendment debate.
“… there is a simple biological fact that gun control advocates like Mr. McAulife ignore,” Lott wrote in the op-ed. “Men are typically much stronger physically than women, particularly when it comes to upper body strength. Unfortunately, real life isn’t like the movies where one single woman is able to knock out and overpower several well-trained men.
“Men also tend to be faster runners. Even without a gun, men can do a lot of harm to or even kill a woman.”
While McAuliffe has called the vetoed measure “dangerous fiction that the victims of domestic violence will be safer by arming themselves,” Lott has actually done research on the subject. And he says McAuliffe is dead wrong.
“My research in my book More Guns, Less Crime shows that murder rates decline when either more women or more men carry concealed handguns, but additionally I found a woman carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for women by about 3 to 4 times more than a man carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for men,” Lott wrote. “And this message is getting across to women. Between 2012 and 2016, in states that provide data by gender, the number of women with concealed handgun permits has increased twice as quickly as the number for men.”
Research aside, Gov. McAuliffe has managed to put some Virginia women at risk with is wrong-headed veto. And that, to me, is Virginia’s shame.
Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.