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Virginia Governor Vetoes Switchblade Commerce Bill

Despite passage with bipartisan support, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam vetoed Knife Rights’ Virginia Switchblade Commerce bill, SB1251.

Signing this bill would have brought in millions of dollars in commerce. Also a significant number of new jobs and revenue gains to one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of the state. His veto message displays a regrettable view of switchblades still rooted in the myths and social attitudes of the 1950s.

His veto message notes that “the Virginia General Assembly has deemed switchblade knives to be so dangerous that they have prohibited their sale or distribution in the Commonwealth. This bill would permit manufacturers and distributors in Virginia to possess these dangerous weapons for sale out of state. If switchblade knives are too dangerous to be sold in Virginia, we should not facilitate their sale and distribution in other states.”

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “Knife Rights has worked to repeal archaic switchblade bans in 15 states since 2010, partnering with Democrats, Republicans, and groups like the ACLU and the NAACP. All recognize that we have to work together, without regard for party or politics, to put an end to these irrational and discriminatory laws that affect minority communities so negatively. It is unfortunate that we were unable to convince Governor Northam to do what’s best for his state and his constituents who desperately need jobs.”

All that was being proposed was to allow Virginia-based business to reap the rewards of a growing niche market. Switchblade (automatic) knives that are legal to possess to one degree or another in 44 states and legal to carry in 33 states. However, the governor would have no part in that even after the bill passed with bipartisan support.

Doug Ritter knife rights

Doug Ritter, Founder of Knife Rights

Our sincere thanks to Senator Bryce Reeves for sponsoring this bill and fighting so hard to get it through the legislature. Unfortunately, even with bipartisan support, it is not likely adequate to gain the two-thirds vote required for a veto override.

Ritter concluded, “Knife Rights will never give up on Virginia or any other state in our effort to put a stop to these senseless and discriminatory laws.”


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