McAuliffe’s Senseless Veto of Concealed Switchblades


Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would allow law-abiding Virginians to concealed carry switchblade knives. The statement accompanying his veto is filled with absurd postulations.

Let’s take Terry’s statement piece-by-piece:

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 1347, which legalizes the carrying of a concealed switchblade knife when it is carried for the purpose of engaging in a lawful profession or lawful recreational activity the performance of which is aided by the knife. This bill also legalizes the sale, bartering, giving or furnishing of switchblade knives.

Alright, nothing really to dispute here. McAuliffe is vetoing the bill, which pretty much does what his office is describing in this statement.

Virginia Code does not define “lawful profession” or “recreational activity.” This modification will create a burden on law enforcement to determine whether a person is engaged in a lawful profession or recreational activity. The enforcement of this law would be challenging at best. For that reason, the Virginia Sheriffs Association has requested this veto. 

There are a couple issues with this paragraph. First off, “lawful profession” is effectively defined by Virginia Code, because the very nature of the law is defining what is not lawful. That means any profession not prohibited is logically lawful.

As far as recreational activity, while not particularly specific, it wouldn’t be all that hard to determine in court. This is the problem with liberal logic — they believe the government must specify everything, as opposed to the conservative philosophy of all things being legal unless deemed otherwise. I don’t see how enforcement would be all that challenging.

There is no compelling need to add to the list of weapons that can be lawfully concealed from public view and easily traded. Legalizing the concealed carry of switchblade knives would needlessly endanger the lives of Virginians. Furthermore, the laws of the United States prohibit the manufacture, transportation or distribution of switchblade knives.

This is where the logic really goes downhill. McAuliffe believes that there must be a compelling need to legalize something, when in actuality there should be a compelling need to criminalize something.

As for endangering the lives of Virginians, I have to ask — how exactly? Stabbing someone is already against the law. For this logic to be sound, we have to believe that there are a number of people currently not concealing switchblades that would conceal switchblades if they are legal and then break the law to use them in an attack. If they’re willing to break one law, will two somehow prevent them?

Finally, McAuliffe is incorrect in saying that the laws prohibit the manufacture, transportation, or distribution of switchblade knives. The Switchblade Knife Act, which was enacted in 1958, prohibits interstate commerce, but does not bar intrastate sales or transportation of switchblade knives. While the courts have had a relatively liberal definition of interstate commerce in recent years, there is still no blanket ban on in-state commerce involving switchblades.

Switchblades are legal to own, and there is no reason to prohibit them from being carried. This is another example of failed liberal logic that demonizes the tool, not the criminal that misuses the tool.