For Immediate Release: March 24, 2016
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Two Bills Seeking to Put More Guns in or around State Office Buildings

 

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the veto of two pieces of legislation that would make Virginians less safe by eliminating common sense restrictions on the possession of firearms in or around state office buildings.

The Governor vetoed House Bill 1096, which would reverse elements of the Governor’s Executive Order 50, which bans the possession of firearms in Virginia executive branch office buildings. He also vetoed House Bill 382, which would strip Virginia government agencies of the power to adopt any regulation or workplace rule that prohibits employees from storing firearms in their automobiles. 

As he demonstrated by brokering a historic compromise to keep guns away from domestic abusers and people who cannot pass background checks earlier this year, Governor McAuliffe is committed to reducing gun violence. In his view, these two bills presented an unnecessary reversal of common sense efforts to limit workplace violence or accidental injury due to the presence of firearms in state facilities.

The full texts of the Governor’s two veto statements are below:

House Bill 1096:

March 23, 2016

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1096, which would reverse the actions taken to safeguard our citizens and employees from gun violence in offices occupied by executive branch agencies.

All Virginians, including state employees, have the right to feel safe and secure going about their daily lives.  Regulations have been authorized to promote safety in public buildings, and prevention requires us to address areas of concern before they are realized.

In addition, this legislation exempts rules, regulations, policies, and administrative actions imposed by certain agencies and institutions of higher education from the requirements of the bill.  Such special exemptions, while other state agencies must comply, infers to the state workforce a perception of inequity for their wellbeing.  Executive Order 50 is a consistent application of administrative requirements implemented across state agencies resulting in equitable state work force protections.    

Our prior bipartisan agreement to make our Commonwealth safer was a step in the right direction, but we must continue the work.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

 

Terence R. McAuliffe



House Bill 382:

March 23, 2016

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 382, which prohibits the vast majority of state agencies within the executive branch from adopting any regulation or workplace rule that prohibits employees from storing firearms in their automobiles. 

As Governor, I am the Chief Personnel Officer of the state workforce.  I believe there is a need to establish and enforce workplace violence prevention policies that focus on employee safety and an atmosphere of workplace safety.  An essential component of workplace violence prevention is the regulation of the possession, brandishing, or use of weapons on-site and during work-related activities.  Our current state policy is aligned with and reinforces this best practice.

Section 2.2-1201 of the Code of Virginia gives the Department of Human Resource Management the authority to set policies related to the personnel administration of state government agencies. The current Workplace Violence policy, applicable to state government employees, prohibits possession of a weapon not required by the individual’s position while the employee is on state premises or engaged in state business.  This policy was established to mitigate the potential for workplace violence or accidental injury.  The policy’s prohibitions are a responsible approach to ensuring the safety of all employees and protection from disgruntled or troubled employees who might inflict harm if given easy access to firearms, regardless of whether the employee is licensed to carry such weapons. 

This bill that inhibits our ability to establish and enforce workplace violence prevention policies that focus on employee safety and an atmosphere of workplace safety.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

 

Terence R. McAuliffe

 

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