West Virginia House Approves Constitutional Carry Bill

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19-year-old Delegate Saira Blair, lead sponsor of the Constitutional Carry Bill.  (Photo: Twitter)

19-year-old Delegate Saira Blair, lead sponsor of the Constitutional Carry Bill. (Photo: Twitter)

Not deterred by the Constitutional carry bill that was vetoed last year by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the West Virginia House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved a new piece of legislation that would bring permitless carry to the Mountain State for those over 21-years-of-age and allow residents between the ages of 18 and 21 to apply for a concealed carry permit.

The chief sponsor of this year’s Constitutional carry bill was 19-year-old Delegate Saira Blair, who cited concerns about her safety as someone who cannot currently carry under state law.

In a moving speech before the Legislature, Blair, a Republican, explained why she felt it was time for a change.

“I’m the only person standing in this chamber in the 18 to 21 year old age period. I can currently not get a permit to carry, and I’ll tell you right now, I am scared,” she said, as quoted by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

“I’ve received multiple death threats in the past year,” Blair continued. “I am scared. I’m not going to stop what I do on a daily basis; I’m not going to stop going to the mall, I’m not going to stop going to the movies, and I’m not going to stop going to church because of it, but I would feel safer as a law abiding citizen if I knew that I was able to protect myself.”

Ultimately, the House passed the bill with a 68-31 vote, with an added amendment that gives one a tax credit for any permit costs.  It seems like a no-brainer, especially because residents over the age of 21 can openly carry without a permit under state law.  If it’s lawful for one to carry openly without a permit, why should it be illegal for one to carry concealed without a permit?

ALSO SEE: ARE OPPONENTS OF CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY ANTI-GUN?

Gov. Tomblin got word of the bill and on Monday, via Twitter, he said, “I will veto any concealed carry bill that does not take into consideration the concerns of law enforcement for the safety of our officers.”

However, the Democratic governor is on his way out. Tomblin cannot run for re-election in the fall because of term limits.

The bill now heads to the state Senate, where it will be reviewed by the Judiciary Committee.

From the perspective of gun rights advocates, the first hurdle was ensuring that all 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of permit issuance system. In short, that any state ban on concealed carry was overturned. Now that that’s been accomplished, the next frontier appears to be enacting Constitutional carry.

On this front, there has been some steady progress. Currently, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Wyoming and Vermont all haver versions of permitless carry on the books, with Kansas being the most recent after enacting a Constitutional carry bill last year.

The Utah Legislature is now reviewing a permitless carry bill and one just got shot down in Virginia earlier this month.

While Constitutional carry is not yet the new normal, it’s gaining momentum. After all, it’s hard to argue with the facts. That is when cries of “blood in the streets” turn out to be overblown after the passage of such laws, anti-gunners have zero credible ground to stand on to justify their opposition.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Smoke Hill Farm February 14, 2016, 10:33 pm

    They left out one — Virginia has been a permitless open-carry State (actually Commonwealth) for fifty years that I can count. There used to be a bit of variation in some of the more left-wing jurisdictions, but since the Virginia Code includes an exemption clause, cities & counties can no longer have ordinances more stringent than the State Code.

    I was a bit surprised at the open-carry rule when I was first stationed in Virginia as a young sergeant. I worked nights in a gas station in Arlington, and when the Martin Luther King riots occurred and threatened to move over into Arlington County, our boss brought in .357 magnums & holsters for us to wear, so we’d have less trouble with some customers who wanted to fill up soda bottles with gasoline and would get pushy when we ran them off.

    Virginia has even improved since then, now eliminating the local law enforcement guys from turning down concealed-carry permits without a legitimate reason. And Virginia now is a “must-issue” State for concealed-carry permits.

  • Smoke Hill Farm February 14, 2016, 10:28 pm

    They left out one — Virginia has been a permitless open-carry State (actually Commonwealth) for fifty years that I can count. There used to be a bit of variation in some of the more left-wing jurisdictions, but since the Virginia Code includes an exemption clause, cities & counties can no longer have ordinances more stringent than the State Code.

    I was a bit surprised at the open-carry rule when I was first stationed in Virginia as a young sergeant. I worked nights in a gas station in Arlington, and when the Martin Luther King riots occurred and threatened to move over into Arlington County, our boss brought in .357 magnums & holsters for us to wear, so we’d have less trouble with some customers who wanted to fill up soda bottles with gasoline and would get pushy when we ran them off.

    Virginia has even improved since then, now eliminating the local law enforcement guys from turning down concealed-carry permits without a legitimate reason. And Virginia now is a “must-issue” State for concealed-carry permits.

  • 2B or not 2B 2A February 13, 2016, 7:20 am

    It’s great to see young folks (millenials) get involved in politics but for a youngster to stand tall on such a controversial issue is outstanding. Way to go Ms. Blair.
    Carry On.

  • Leroy Joseph, Jr. February 12, 2016, 8:34 pm

    OOOHRAH!, Delegate Saira Blair

  • Joe McHugh February 12, 2016, 6:46 pm

    Let’s see if I understand Democrat Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s stand on this issue. Presumably, Governor Tomblin knows that criminals ignore all gun laws. However, he seems to think that restricting the ability of the law-abiding residents of his state to carry handguns concealed, (just like the criminals do), will keep the crime rate down. This is what passes for logic in the minds of the Democrats.

    Liberals don’t know what they are doing. This point cannot be stressed enough.

  • Larry February 12, 2016, 11:27 am

    So, even though nearly 70% of the electorate voted for this measure, the DEMOCRAT governor says he will veto it. And that, my friends, is what is wrong all across the country. “We” keep electing fools with “D”s behind their name & continue to believe that they will follow the will of the people & we are wrong.

  • Dave Hicks February 12, 2016, 11:19 am

    Great news ! Way to go MS.Blair Good for the people in West Virgina. Mountain Men are Always Free. From a Mingo County Native

  • flyr February 12, 2016, 11:11 am

    While the current court decision in California favors concealed carry, most of the law enforcement officials in the liberal counties are refusing to process applications pending the appeal. Since concealed carry without a permit is illegal and no permits are being issued in most all of the state concealed carry is still illegal in CA despite the court decision.

    • glenn February 12, 2016, 11:47 am

      Some people in California don’t care what the state does if it is in violation of the Second Amendment. I have a friend who is the head of a security firm who could not get a carry permit as far as 20 years ago. He carried in his front pocket anyway. My life (his life) is worth more than your idiot laws!!

  • Steve Estes February 12, 2016, 8:29 am

    Interesting in todays Sarasota Herald Tribune. Article refers to a person who had “stood their ground” and fired their legally carried weapon and were arrested. States attorney wouldNOT file charges. Individual is now suing Sarasota Sheriffs Ofc. for false arrest

    • Dave Hicks February 12, 2016, 11:11 am

      Hope that they win, Police can’t help them selves let alone any one else.

  • Patrick Moore February 12, 2016, 2:38 am

    This bill was authored by the WVCDL.org:
    ***please share***
    WVCDL-ALERT
    Update
    February 12, 2016
    HB4145 Calls
    We need the calls to continue. However, please don’t badger the Senators or their staff. Repeated calls to the same number by the same people are ineffective, and could be counter-productive. What carries more weight, is convincing your friends and neighbors to make a simple 30 second phone call in support of their rights. Share the information, and urge people to call. The more people that call, the more pressure it puts on legislators.
    “Please pass HB4145 intact and support my right to bear arms.” That is the simple, general message.
    Call Senate President Bill Cole and let him know this issue will influence your vote for Governor:
    (304) 357-7801
    Call the chair of the Senate Judiciary, Charlie Trump and urge him to move this bill through his committee.
    (304) 357-7980
    Call the individual members of the Judiciary Committee and urge them to move the bill through the committee intact.
    Ryan Ferns: (304) 357-7918
    Bob Ashley: (304) 357-7970
    Robert Beach: (304) 357-7919
    Mitch Carmichael: (304) 357-7855
    Sue Cline: (304) 357-7807
    Ed Gaunch: (304) 357-7841
    Robert Karnes: (304) 357-7906
    Art Kirkendoll: (304) 357-7857
    Mark Maynard: (304) 357-7808
    Ronald Miller: (304) 357-7959
    Corey Palumbo: (304) 357-7854
    Mike Romano: (304) 357-7904
    Herb Snyder: (304) 357-7957
    Bob Williams: (304) 357-7995
    Mike Woelfel: (304) 357-7956
    Lobby Day is Upon Us.
    This coming Monday, February 15, 2016. Come stand with us in defense of your rights!
    With HB4145 waiting in the Senate, this is your chance to come show West Virginia’s lawmakers where you stand. Bloomberg’s MDA has already had their lobby day. (We told you they’re here and spending money) A strong turn out for lobby day could very well be the pivot that decides if we regain our constitutional right to bear arms without the government’s explicit permission.
    Monday will be a busy day for all of us. But if you’ve never been to a Lobby Day before, do not be intimidated. West Virginians from all walks of life come down to meet and discuss our rights with their legislators. If you wish to speak to them, you’ll probably get the opportunity. If you would prefer to just listen, you can do that too. Either way, you get to see the process, and have a direct impact on the laws that govern your life. These legislators know well that each of us that shows represents thousands of others who think and vote the same way you do, but couldn’t be bothered to make it. Come and stand for thousands of people in your community. If not you, then who?
    We plan to start at 8AM. Arrive early to allow time to get through the security screening. The checkpoints are at the ends of the east and west wings. Allow yourself some time to get through the metal detectors.

  • Mark N. February 12, 2016, 2:29 am

    I have been of the opinion for some time that in more urbanized areas, concealed carry is preferred, and causes fewer problems with the soccer moms. In any state that allows permitless open carry, limiting concealed carry is pretty pointless, a point that is easily driven home to the politicians by large numbers of people openly carrying in areas where it is normally rare. Permitless concealed carry is almost sure to follow. This opinion is demonstrated by the banning of open carry (which after 1968 was unloaded open carry); the soccer moms were in a tizzy when people started exercising this limited right in places where concealed carry permits were as rare as blue moons. The Legislature acted quickly to ban all forms of open carry in incorporated cities and town, and now open carry is allowed only out in the country and in our vast forests. Which just goes to show that many people are frightened by the sight of a gun, so to calm their nerves, concealed carry shuld be liberally allowed.

  • James February 10, 2016, 2:53 pm

    I like her.

    • Ray February 12, 2016, 9:07 am

      Steady on, young Lady!!!

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