Legislature Overrides Gov.’s Veto: West Virginia Becomes 8th Constitutional Carry State

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.  Sorry pal, you lose!

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Sorry pal, you lose!

The writing was on the wall this time around. Despite Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto, for the second straight year in a row, there was enough support in both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature to ensure that the Mountain State would become the eighth state to allow law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

And that’s exactly what happened. Tomblin vetoed HB 4145 last Thursday. The very next day the state House chose to override the governor’s decision by a vote of 64-33, only to be followed by the state Senate on Saturday, which also voted 23-11 in favor of the override.

Starting in May, which is approximately 90 days from the passage of the bill, Constitutional carry will become a reality in West Virginia — a thought that is displeasing to the Democratic governor.

“West Virginia’s law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe and helping us in times of need, and it’s disheartening that the members of the Legislature have chosen not to stand with these brave men and women – putting their safety and the safety of West Virginians at risk,” said Tomblin in a statement.

“It’s unfortunate that the concerns of officers from every law enforcement branch in the state, including the West Virginia State Police and university campus police officers, have been ignored by today’s action,” he added.

Tomblin’s big beef with the bill was that it jeopardized public safety, a specious claim considering that open carry without a license is already lawful in West Virginia.

In fact, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey acknowledged as much in a statement.

“As the chief legal officer of the state and the person in charge of criminal matters for the state at the WV Supreme Court and in federal courts, I know that this legislation will not impact public safety,” he said after the veto. “If this bill is enacted, we will not only expand freedom, but we will keep our citizens protected.”

Under the language of the HB 4145, all law-abiding citizens over the age of 21 will be allowed to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense without a permit. Additionally, citizens between the ages of 18-21 will be allowed to apply for a concealed carry permit, provided they undergo training for which they would receive a tax credit.

The NRA hailed it as a victory for the Second Amendment.

“Self-defense is a fundamental right that must be respected,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA-ILA. “Law-abiding West Virginians are now free to choose the method of self-defense that best suits their needs. The NRA and our five million members are pleased that the legislature voted in support of West Virginians’ Second Amendment freedoms.”

West Virginia joins Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Wyoming, and Mississippi as permit-less carry states.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Paul Bond July 3, 2017, 6:08 pm

    What am I missing. Why doesn’t WV have reciprocity with other states? It’s cost them my business and the approx $200mm that could have been added to their struggling economy.

  • Keith McAdams February 9, 2017, 10:58 am

    It’s time we all started voting liberals out of office. Their agenda would totally disarm the public. I will NEVER vote for a democrat , and will never give up my firearm. All of the laws banning certain guns , over-reaching laws concerning supressors , and red tape paperwork has to be eliminated and replaced with good , common sense registration by our Conservative leaders. Although the rinos need to be weeded out ( McCain,Graham , etc ) . We all need to be strong , push for better laws , and never let up !

    • Garbear February 14, 2017, 3:10 pm

      Way to go WV. Now I wish Pennsylvania would follow along. What a pain to go to the Courthouses go though a metal detector then a patdown. To go to the Sheriffs Office to pay your $35. dollars I don’t know the new price. I was told it went up it would be so much easier just to allow ccw Come on Pennsylvania.

      • Bruce February 25, 2017, 4:51 pm

        Question: So now anyone over the age of 21 in WV will not have to go to the locale sheriff and have a back ground and mental check done?

  • Gerald Arnold March 16, 2016, 12:16 pm

    The WV Gov just doesn’t get it. It’s not about the police or about him. Its about the clear expectations of the overwhelming majority of the people whom they pretend to serve. I say pretend because they really intend to rule over us while rationalizing it as “it’s good for us to be defenseless”.

    Well the elected legislators finally seem to realize that they’re not on a political suicide mission to cram legislation down our throat even if they are thrown out of office for it. They’re letting us have our way for once and the establishment masters they’ve been habituated to obey aren’t liking it one bit. It is time they say… screw the establishment we serve the people….while they still can.

  • Larry March 12, 2016, 7:51 pm

    Quit voting in Democrats & you wouldn’t have to override their vetoes.

  • Ron March 12, 2016, 4:57 pm

    Attaboy, West Virginia! While it should not be necessary for any legal United States citizen to have anyone’s permission and/or sanction to carry a loaded handgun in any mode they choose, you have followed the letter of law in getting your wishes granted. Hopefully, someday, the entire citizenry of this great country of ours will understand that those who would commit an illegal act with a gun couldn’t care less about a law that disallows the carrying of guns. Gun laws do nothing but restrict law abiding citizens from making every effort to protect themselves or other innocents when harm by an assailant is imminent.

    • R J May 13, 2016, 9:02 am

      “Right On” Now if the liberal voters would only have the sense God gave them we would not have socialist/communist individuals even running for the highest office in the land.

      • Jay September 16, 2016, 4:26 am

        Weellllm liberals are mostly atheists so they were absent when God was handing out sense. That being the case you can hardly expect any sense out of them.
        Kidding aside, when we turned over our schools to “socialist/communist” types to ‘educate’ our young we can hardly expect anything else. My wife and I home schooled ours and the fact that our kids are well behaved and respectful of others and not on booze & drugs, pharmaceutical or otherwise, has actually brought down the suggestion that we must have abused them.
        Furthermore, I’m in my 60s and I can plainly see that this is the harvest of the 1960s and the communists really got their grip on us. After all, what else are the Clintons but a product of those days of “Peace, Love & Understanding.” Yeah. Right. I could just about hurl. The Bible warned us. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

  • Mitch March 12, 2016, 8:43 am

    Wooooooray, West Virginia! A couple of observations on the previous comments….. In the one that stated the Militia, I think he was just using the word as a general term meaning all LEOs. In all of comments that are worried about illegal and unlawful use of deadly force, it simply isn’t a crime (for anyone, mentally capable or not) to carry any weapon, PERIOD! The problems exist when that person exposes and uses the weapon, illegally or not. That’s up to the courts to decide. Oh, and I think I’m going to pack-up and move to WV!

  • JOHN T. FOX March 11, 2016, 8:40 pm


  • Irondoor March 11, 2016, 4:37 pm

    It disheartening and unfortunate that when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

  • Allan March 11, 2016, 2:54 pm

    While I am hoping that the U.S. Congress will eventually pass a bill to allow nationwide concealed carry, I have to politely disagree with the author’s count of eight states that allow constitutional carry. My understanding is that Mississippi is not a full constitutional carry state as recent Mississippi legislation now allows carry without a permit only for purses, briefcases, or other enclosed satchel-like containers. It also grants concealed carry without permits to several restricted groups, namely disabled veterans, active duty military personnel, and currently active or honorably retired law enforcement officers.

  • Russ March 11, 2016, 2:13 pm

    And look out everyone, here will come the dire predictions! “There will be old-West shootouts in the streets over fender benders… people will shoot others for bumping into them in the grocery store”… and other idiotic predictions that assume anyone who would carry a gun has an IQ of 50. Of course these never remotely happen but every time gun laws are liberalized (is that an oxymoron or what?) the anti-gunners and the press drag out their tired old ridiculous histrionics.

    • Irondoor March 11, 2016, 4:41 pm

      Speaking of bumping into each other, a lady told my wife that she is always bumping into people with CCW guns holstered at church out here in Montana. She said it made her feel safer when she felt to gun bump her, after several church shooting in the news.

  • Alan March 11, 2016, 1:50 pm

    The Police exist to serve the People, nothing more. They, just as the Duly elected representatives of the people, are not immune to the peoples will.
    It is clear that a majority wanted this, therefore it is the will of the people.
    Methinks the Governor doesn’t concern himself with the peoples will, but rather his party’s stance.

  • Larry Koehn March 11, 2016, 11:53 am

    The DemoRATZ don’t want their sheeple to have a means of resisting oppression and they fear independents or RepubliCONS as we have already totally rejected their tainted philosophy. Now if this, and all other wannabe dictators would simply lose their next election the country would turn in much better direction. DemoRATZ just can’t grasp that government is supposed to enact the will of the people who vote and not what “they” think is best.

  • Larry March 11, 2016, 11:17 am

    I’m sure that law enforcement as a whole are smart enough to realize that they have nothing to fear from the LAW ABIDING citizens of their state, whether armed or not. Earl Bob or Bill Ray or whatever a-hole name this leftist gubner goes by should be wise enough to realize that also.
    Anyway, I want to welcome the great state of West Virginia to the fold of actually obeying the law that is the Second Amendment. Now, we just have to get the other 42 states in line with our glorious Constitution.

    • John March 11, 2016, 12:28 pm

      True…..as long as they are LAW ABIDING, but:
      what provisions are in place to prevent some looney-tunes whack-a-mole nutjob from carrying? Yes, this person could have carried before, but w/o a permit would have been disarmed and penalized if discovered. Now our resident cuckoo doesn’t have to worry about having it taken away. One thing concealed permits does (or is supposed to) is to weed out the crazies so they face stiff penalties for lugging around a shootin iron.

      • Alan March 11, 2016, 2:02 pm

        This is a perfect example of how so many are truly ignorant of the laws concerning mental illness.
        In short, nothing will “prevent” this, just as before.
        The problem with mental illness in this Country, is the stigma attached to it in our society.
        Because of this, family’s allow their known “nutjob” to go untreated and free to do whatever, such as our mass shootings.
        The price of a free society is exactly this. No one guarantees your safety, and BTW, there is NO Constitutional guarantee of this, only of letting you exercise your rights to defend yourself.
        When the SCOTUS found that Police Depts. have no individual obligation to protecting you, they basically opened the doors to this type of carry.
        Your analogy of what carry permit systems did to “weed out” “nutjobs” is seriously flawed, and in fact no CCW system was EVER set up to do that, because laws on the books do NOT allow police access to your mental records, unless you were PREVIOUSLY adjudicated mentally ill.

      • Richard Benevolus March 11, 2016, 2:14 pm

        If you have not noticed the maniacs don’t care about the LAW OR YOU> They do what they want but NOW they don’t know if a person id armed !! It gives THEM something to think about

  • John Ska March 11, 2016, 10:57 am

    Great news. The attitude of this Democrat Governor is typical of the “NEW” Democrat party. After being a registered Democrat for over 40 years, I have changed my voter registration because of bleeding heart liberals like this. I am a Honorably discharged veteran of the US Army and not a felon and I believe that I should be allowed to legally carry a concealed or open firearm without being harassed by members of the police forces throughout any state in the USA. I hope more states follow suit.

  • Geoling March 11, 2016, 10:18 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong but,”…Constitutional carry will become a reality in West Virginia.” I don’t think is correct. I think this is a “law” and not an amendment to the WV Constitution.

    • CHRIS March 11, 2016, 11:16 am

      Its reference is to the United States Constitution which guarantees the right to bear arms uninfringed.

  • Alex Duschere March 11, 2016, 10:08 am

    What is meant by ” HB 4145 All law abiding citizens over 21 allowed without permit” or just residents of the State?

    • S.H. Blannelberry March 11, 2016, 11:13 am

      That’s a good question. I’m pretty sure it may just apply to residents, but lemme double check. The way the sentence reads is all citizens (or the U.S.), which may be incorrect.

  • 2A4Me March 11, 2016, 10:01 am

    A victorious win for 2A. It would be interesting to see violent crime stats in lawful open or concealed carry, permitless states vs the crazy anti-gun states. Since the primary argument is violent crime will magically be lower in states where guns are mainly prohibited or heavily restricted (NY, CA etc).

    • R J May 13, 2016, 9:11 am

      Absolutely all you have to do is check the shootings and murders in “gun free” Chicago any week end to see how that works. Murder capitol of the country. Home of Obummer and all of his blind followers

  • Kimberpross March 11, 2016, 9:49 am

    I like the idea of training usually associated with obtaining a Concealed carry license and that would make the “militia” more safe and aware of situations and I think adding that type language to a law like this would be good. Not only on increasing your awareness of what is going on around you while out, but training how to avoid a bad situation and then also handle the stressful situation and when to draw your firearm. It also would be a good time to teach Constitutional awareness. This change in the law will likely have a positive impact on violent crime but all the liberal press will cover are the situations that will support their anti-gun agenda. (I told you so) What the gun grabbers argue is putting in place the speed bumps that slow or limit the permitting process, gun ownership, reduces shootings. What they don’t acknowledge is criminals don’t concern themselves with firearm ownership or carrying laws. This just makes the community more safe.

    • CHRIS March 11, 2016, 11:20 am

      The power of the people resides in the second amendment, not trusting the people to act responsibly is not the job of the government. Laws are already in the books for those that are careless or dangerous.

    • Michael L. MacKay March 11, 2016, 12:27 pm

      You must not have never studied the Constitution. It’s meaning is not bound by your own interpretation of the words written on the page as filtered through what you think they mean. Please study the Federalist Papers at the Thomas Jefferson Branch of the Library of Congress in order to grasp the proper meaning. Your reference to a “militia” is wholly incorrect if you are implying the 2nd Amendment speaks only to a militia, and not to an individual right. The founders who authored the Constitution were very explicit in their definition of the goal of the 2nd Amendment. States rights to support a militia unpolluted by officers from the federal government, AND the individual right to own and bear arms at all times for protection of life and property. Thomas Jefferson went as far as to say it was a right and a duty for citizens to be armed at all times. He made no distinction of “but not in this building” and “not on this campus” and “not over here” “but only over here” He said, and I quote, “…Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.” – Letter to Peter Carr, 1785; The Letters of Thomas Jefferson: 1743-1826, Electronic Text Center of University of Virginia

  • KevinO March 11, 2016, 9:07 am

    fantastic news, common sense at it’s best. I can only hope the republic of new jersey follow. looking to retire in WV.

    • Jim March 11, 2016, 11:09 am

      REPUBLIC?? Not too sure about that…..with states like New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, along with some other New England states, except Vermont, I think New Jersey would be more like a dictatorship. I have to admit, sometimes Governor Christie makes me wonder where he stands.
      My brother-in-law from NY retired and moved to West Virginia. He and his family seem to love it.

      • CHRIS March 11, 2016, 11:22 am

        Christie stands with his own best interest. He is not a pro second amendment governor. He has had many opportunities to veto BS gum laws in NY.

  • Frank March 11, 2016, 9:00 am

    They make gun owners and CCW’s sound like criminals despite being OK’d by the local Sheriff in many cases as a citizen with upstanding morals.

  • Steve Challis March 11, 2016, 8:32 am

    I will be a dissenter on this point,as I am not in favour of CCW without any training ,or constitutional carry as the supporters have dubbed it. respect to CCW .Because the concept has been distorted to paint opponents of this law as anti gun. In fact I am the opposite as are many of us on this side of the debate.
    I hope most gun owners are responsible and will realise the responsibility of carrying a gun for self defense. These people will ensure they are fully conversant with the law and know exactly what constitutes lawful deadly force and what dies not, However with no incentive in so called constitutional states ,to get any training most gun owners will not bother to go to the expense.relying on what they feel is common sense.

    Bad idea, for example in Kentucky if you you deadly force to defend someone you believe in all honesty is in deadly danger.,but you make a mistake ,and say shoot an undercover cop .or a actor shooting a scene. You are the one arrested charged and imprisioned ,losing your gun rights forever. In many States you are required to inform A Police Officer you are carrying concealed within one minute of being stopped ,otherwise you face arrest. These are just a small fraction of the minefield if different laws that a non trained Conceald carry gun owner can fall foul of.
    The former law abiding gun owner suddenly becomes a law breaking gun owner and the anti gun establishment are only to quick to point that out
    For the record I am an endowment member of the NRA a certified CCW instructor with the State of Kentucky ,and a certified instructor trainer ,as well as being the author of several books on the 2A .Police Officers in W Virginia were opposed to this law,not because they are anti constitution,they are simply pro training and fear for the safety of citizens who may find themselves being threatened or held at gunpoint by a well meaning but totally untrained gun owner. To me this is a real fear. However I am very much in support of the bill allowing 18 to 20 year olds to obtain a CCW permit. If you are old enough to fight and die for your country ,then you are old enough to carry a gun in self defense. In both cases you will get training.

    • CHRIS March 11, 2016, 11:46 am

      The power of the people resides in the second amendment, not trusting the people to act responsibly is not the job of the government. Laws are already in the books for those that are careless or dangerous. People have been carrying firearms safely hundreds of years before the advent of gun safety courses and government training.

    • Smoke Hill Farm March 12, 2016, 2:16 pm

      I largely agree with most of your points. Unfortunately, the average citizen doesn’t know anywhere near enough about the law, and about the minefield of possible legal difficulties involving CCW. Having minimal training in this aspect would truly be doing them a favor.

      I do disagree with your argument for 18-20-yr-olds. That’s the same phony argument the Democrats used to give the vote to generations of ignorant, propagandized college students, 95% of whom have never and will never be in uniform. I agree that if you are a 18-20-yr-old serving in the military, you should be entitled to a vote. But not just because you are old enough to serve, but refuse to be bothered with it.

  • Garf Green March 11, 2016, 7:43 am

    I am a retired police officer of 30 years,any honest citizen with a gun is on the side of law enforcement.

    • Jason C March 11, 2016, 9:51 am

      I totally agree, but Steve (previous post) has a point. Safety first! Training is definately needed.

      • SNuss March 11, 2016, 4:34 pm

        The problem with mandating training is that unscrupulous politicians could make it so difficult, and/or so expensive to be trained, that many could not afford it.

        • Ty March 11, 2016, 6:19 pm

          It is a real thing. It cost me just over $400 for the class, fees, and all requirements for myself and my wife to get our ccp. Not a lot for some, but a lot for others.

  • Steve K March 11, 2016, 6:46 am


  • Wayne March 11, 2016, 6:43 am

    I’m in New Jersey, Trenton does no want Law abiding citizens to protect them self from criminals with guns.We have the worst gun laws in the US. I think that its time to move to West Virginia.

  • M Gray March 11, 2016, 6:38 am

    God bless these eight states for there constitutional fortitude !!!!!!!!!!

  • Joseph March 11, 2016, 5:36 am

    West By God Virginia, The only state north of Florida I would love to be living in. Man I am sorry economics made me sell those five acres I had on Sleepy Creek Mountain fifteen years ago.
    God Bless EM !!!!

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude March 11, 2016, 7:13 am

      Good old West Virginia! Now we gotta ride the momentum wave, start pushing for the abolishment of asset seizure/forfeiture laws, the serious restriction of Nazi police state 4/A privacy violations, and ultimately establish ‘Constitutional Limited Government’! We can never rest because ‘They’ never stop!

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