Ashton Marra Published

Constitutional Carry Bill Pulled from Senate Committee Agenda


The Senate Judiciary Committee pulled a bill to remove the permitting requirements to carry concealed weapons in the state from its agenda Monday afternoon. The decision, which came without an explanation during the meeting from Chair Charles Trump, came the same day as a public hearing on the issue. 

“With the push of that green button you told 1 million lawful gun owners in West Virginia that you believed in them,” West Virginia Citizens Defense League lobbyist Art Thomm told lawmakers during the hearing, speaking of a similar bill both the House and Senate approved during that 2015 session. That bill was vetoed by Governor Tomblin.

The 2016 legislation, already approved by the House of Delegates, would allow West Virginians over the are of 21, who are legally allowed to carry a gun currently, to carry a weapon concealed without a permit. It would also allow West Virginians from 18 to 21-years-old to obtain a permit after taking a safety course, like the one currently required under state code.

Members of the Citizens Defense League as well as a representative of the National Rifle Association spoke at the public hearing Monday, asking lawmakers to remove barriers for West Virginians to express their second amendment rights like cost. 

“We can’t as a society just hope that everybody knows what they’re doing,” Frank Hartman with the West Virginia Association of Counties said during the hearing. “The whole fundamental premise of a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun is that the good guy knows what they’re doing.”

The association, according to Hartman, would support getting rid of the current fees for a concealed weapons permit if lawmakers kept the safety training course requirement in place.