Last year, right around this time of the year, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a permit-less or Constitutional carry bill citing concerns for law enforcement officers.
Well, on Thursday, Gov. Tomblin did the same exact thing once again standing in the way of a law-abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms as the Constitution intended.
At a news conference where various local law enforcement agencies were in attendance, the Democratic governor explained why he shot down the bill for the second year in a row.
“I have been listening, and today [Thursday] I stand with you for the safety of the men, women and children who call our state home,” the governor said, according to local media. “Our law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe. Now it’s time for us to return the favor and veto HB4145.”
Under the language of the bill, all law-abiding citizens over the age of 21 would be allowed to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense without a permit. Additionally, citizens between the ages of 18-21 would be allowed to apply for a concealed carry permit, provided they undergo training for which they would receive a tax credit.
Under current law, citizens over the age of 21 can openly carry a firearm for self-defense without a permit, which raises the question of consistency. Why is the governor fine with permit-less open carry, but not permit-less concealed carry?
Without speculating too much, it could be a money thing. Tomblin may not want to say good by to the revenue as the current concealed carry issuing fee in West Virginia is $100. If HB4145 were to pass, the government would no longer collect that fee. Again, this is pure speculation. But when it comes to politics, it’s more often than not about money.
The bill received overwhelming support in both chambers, clearing the state House by a vote of 61 to 31 and the state Senate by a vote of 24 to 9. Given that the last day of the legislative session is March 12, the Legislature has plenty of time to override the veto.
Meanwhile, the NRA expressed their disappointment that Tomblin vetoed the bill.
“Gov. Tomblin’s decision to veto this bill is unfortunate, especially considering the significant support HB 4145 had from both sides of the aisle,” said Dakota Moore, NRA-ILA West Virginia liaison. “We’re hopeful that, in going back to the legislature, each chamber will promptly reaffirm the rights of law-abiding individuals.”
We’ll keep you posted on HB4145. Unlike last year, chances are this time around it’s got enough support to override the governor’s veto.