Liz McCormick Published

'Campus-Carry' Bill Could Resurface in 2019 Session

West Virginia House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, studies legislation in a House Finance Committee meeting in 2017.

West Virginia lawmakers in the Eastern Panhandle have a long list of issues they hope to tackle in the upcoming state Legislative session, including reintroducing a controversial bill to allow eligible people to carry guns on college campuses.

On Friday, lawmakers from Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties spoke about the upcoming legislative outlook at a forum in Martinsburg.

They listed several issues they hope will get attention this session, such as expanding natural gas access, tax and education reform, and a more uniform funding formula for the state’s higher education institutions.

House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles, a Republican from Morgan County, said he plans to reintroduce a bill that would allow an eligible person to carry a gun on college campuses.

“The campus-carry bill will be a tough bill, and there will be some opposition, I think from WVU, from some of the state institutions,” Cowles said. “But I think we can all come together if they’re willing to compromise and communicate with some of the members of the House Republican caucus.”

People 18 years or older in West Virginia can already openly carry a gun without a permit, and people 21 and over can conceal-carry without a permit.

Other issues cited by lawmakers Friday included fixing issues with the Public Employees Insurance Agency, giving another pay increase to teachers and public employees, economic and workforce development, getting rid of the business inventory tax, increasing broadband access, and continuing to combat the opioid epidemic.