Gov. Ralph Northam vetoed a bill Thursday that would have allowed knife manufacturers in Virginia to make switchblades but only distribute them out of state.
The legislation would have benefited two Marion-based knife companies: Blue Ridge Knives, a manufacturer, and online retailer Blade HQ. Under existing law, neither company can manufacture and possess switchblades.
“The Virginia General Assembly has deemed switchblade knives to be so dangerous that they have prohibited their sale or distribution in the commonwealth,” Northam wrote in his veto message.
“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.”
In Virginia, switchblades cannot be carried concealed.
Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, sponsored Senate Bill 1251 and pitched it as an economic bill that would generate more revenue for those companies and new jobs.
Knife Rights, an Arizona-based advocacy group that lobbied for the bill, has been successful in other states at loosening knife laws.
Northam has now vetoed six bills this year. The legislature will return April 3 to consider the governor’s vetoes and proposed amendments.