Lawmakers in West Virginia are once again moving to join states such as Maine that have recognized concealed carry of firearms without a permit. A similar bill passed early this year but was vetoed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The new legislation being drafted includes some extra measures intended to reassure law enforcement, including increasing penalties for gun-related offenses and limiting the deregulation to state residents.
Sen. Bill Cole, the president of West Virginia’s Senate, explained that the measure would only affect law-abiding citizens. “The crooks, the drug dealers, they already have a gun under their coat, and they don’t have a concealed carry permit,” he said. The low crime rate in Vermont, which has always recognized permitless open and concealed carry, indicates that such a policy certainly can’t hurt.