Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has vetoed Knife Rights‘ SB1251, otherwise known as the Virginia Switchblade Commerce Bill. The proposed legislation aimed to open doors for additional jobs and income around Virginia by loosening the legal strictures around switchblades.
In short, SB1251 amended Virginia state law to allow manufacturers and distributors could possess items designated as switchblades, and sell them out of state. While it did not make their use and carry in-state legal, it was intended to generate additional jobs in the manufacture and sale of these goods.
According to Northam, a perceived danger of switchblades was the major sticking point. While laws across the country are changing and, as Knife Rights notes, switchblades are legal in some form or another in 44 states, they remain heavily legislated in Virginia In his veto message Northam writes that “If switchblade knives are too dangerous to be sold in Virginia, we should not facilitate their sale and distribution in other states.”
The next step for SB1251 in the legislative process is a potential veto override. It would need to garner a two-thirds vote from both the state Senate and the House of Delegates to achieve this. In their release on the veto Knife Rights notes that although SB1251 received support from both parties it is unlikely to achieve this difficult and critical amount of support at this time.