West Virginia: You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?

posted on April 26, 2016
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Illustration by T.S. Jessell

This feature appears in the May ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.

The West Virginia state Legislature overrode Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of a permitless concealed-carry measure, ensuring that law-abiding Mountain State residents soon will be able to more easily exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

Illustration by T.S. Jessell

This was the second straight year Tomblin had vetoed such a measure, which rescinds the law making it a crime for a person to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. The new law will take effect June 5. “Self-defense is a fundamental right that must be respected,” Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said after the veto override. “Law-abiding West Virginians are now free to choose the method of self-defense that best suits their needs. The NRA and our 5 million members are pleased that the Legislature voted in support of West Virginians’ Second Amendment freedoms.”

Current law allows for open carry without a permit, but makes it a crime for a person to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Once enacted, law-abiding West Virginians will be able to carry their firearm in the manner they choose. HB 4145 also strengthens penalties for anyone caught carrying illegally and recognizes the Second Amendment-protected rights of individuals between the ages of 18 and 21. Under current law, law-abiding adults ages 18-21 are prohibited from carrying concealed in West Virginia. The enactment of HB 4145 will, upon completion of a training program, allow these lawful adults to obtain a concealed-carry permit.

West Virginia joins seven states that have enacted permitless concealed carry, none of which have seen any detrimental effect on public safety. NRA-ILA thanks Speaker Tim Armstead, Del. Saira Blair, Sen. Bill Cole, Sen. Craig Blair, Sen. Charles Trump and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for their efforts in ensuring passage of this legislation.

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