In a press release Friday, Governor Tomblin announced his veto of Senate Bill 347, the Firearms Act of 2015.
The bill, as approved by lawmakers on the final day of the regular legislative session, would have removed the requirement for any person 21 and older to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Rescinding the permit requirement would have also discontinued the need for the safety course attached to the permitting process.
In his veto message, Tomblin cited concerns shared with him from law enforcement officers and public safety.
“Throughout my career, I have strongly supported the Second Amendment, as demonstrated by my repeated endorsements and high grades from the National Rifle Association. However, I must also be responsive to the apprehension of law enforcement officers from across the state, who have concerns about the bill as it relates to the safety of their fellow officers. It also would eliminate the required gun safety training courses for those applying for a concealed carry permit. In light of these concerns and in the interest of public safety for all West Virginians, I have vetoed Senate Bill 347.”
Supporters of the bill argued during the session carrying concealed without a permit is a Constitutional right and the $100 fee that comes with the permit is restrictive.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin had previously spoken out against the signing of the bill, calling it irresponsible and dangerous.