RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed legislation that would make it easier for nonresidents to get concealed handgun carry permits.
The bill narrowly passed the GOP-controlled General Assembly, but Northam signed the veto on Tuesday.
The bill would have required state police to issue a temporary permit 90 days after receiving an application unless police determined the applicant was disqualified. Under current law, nonresidents can apply for a five-year concealed carry permit.
"This legislation would force the Virginia Department of State Police to use already limited staff and taxpayer dollars to expedite processing of nonresident requests to meet this unreasonable requirement," said Northam in a press release.
Northam, a Democrat, is a strong advocate for greater gun control laws. Republican supporters of the bill are unlikely to get enough support to override the governor's veto.
Northam's full statement is below:
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 2253, which would create public safety concerns, place an arbitrary and overly burdensome mandate on the Virginia Department of State Police, and irresponsibly utilize taxpayer dollars to prioritize nonresident applications over resident needs.
This legislation has significant public safety implications, as it would require the Virginia Department of State Police to issue a de facto nonresident concealed handgun permit if the agency fails to complete its review of an application within 90 days. This not only places an arbitrary and burdensome mandate on the Virginia Department of State Police, but would also undoubtedly result in ineligible nonresidents obtaining permits. In order to protect public safety, it is critical that the Virginia Department of State Police be afforded the necessary time to review all available criminal history information and fully investigate each application.
Additionally, this legislation would force the Virginia Department of State Police to use already limited staff and taxpayer dollars to expedite processing of nonresident requests to meet this unreasonable requirement. As governor, it is my responsibility to ensure good stewardship of taxpayer dollars and resources.
Accordingly, I veto this bill.
Ralph S. Northam