VA OK’s Mental Health Changes, Gov. Vetoes Gun-Rights Bills


Virginia legislators have approved the first major overhaul of the state’s mental health system in three decades, largely in response to the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, reports the Washington Post. The General Assembly passed a package of bills designed to give families and courts greater flexibility in having people who are mentally ill involuntarily committed. Lawmakers hope to prevent tragedies such as the killings April 16, when student Seung Hui Cho fatally shot 32 students and teachers before killing himself.

Gov. Timothy Kaine vetoed his first legislation of the year — a pair of bills that would have loosened restrictions on where person may carry or place firearms. One measure would have allowed people to keep concealed weapons in cars if the weapons are locked in a compartment or container, even if the owner did not have a permit. The other would have allowed carrying concealed weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol. Kaine said the bills could have endangered law enforcement officers, restaurant employees, and patrons. One legislator called the measures “two very reasonable bills” and said Kaine showed “disdain for law-abiding gun owners.”


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