West Virginia Governor Vetoes Constitutional Carry Bill

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a Constitutional carry bill on Friday, citing concerns over public safety.

“Throughout my career, I have strongly supported the Second Amendment, as demonstrated by my repeated endorsements and high grades from the National Rifle Association,” said Gov. Tomblin in a statement.

“However, I must also be responsive to the apprehension of law enforcement officers from across the state, who have concerns about the bill as it relates to the safety of their fellow officers,’ Tomblin continued.

The bill, known as Senate Bill 347 or the Firearms Act of 2015, would have scrapped the state’s concealed carry issuance process which includes mandatory training and $100 licensing fee allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed without a permit. For Tomblin, removing these requirements was problematic.

“In light of these concerns and in the interest of public safety for all West Virginians, I have vetoed Senate Bill 347,” said Tomblin.

SB 347 sailed through both chambers of the state Legislature, clearing the House by a vote of 71-29 and the Senate by 30-4, despite vocal criticism from high-profile politicians like U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and law enforcement officers.

Responding to the governor’s veto, supporters of the bill said that they would simply reintroduce the bill next year.

“We’ll do it again next year and we’ll make sure we do it early enough that he can veto it next year and the same thing that happened with the pain capable bill will happen with this bill,” Del. Mike Folk (R-Berkeley, 63) told Metro News. Folk was referencing a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. Tomblin vetoed the aboartion bill but the Legislature had enough time to override it last year.

Folk also said the the concerns over public safety were overblown.

“[Police] They assume [already] that every person is armed, so the safety issue is not a good argument,” Folk said.

The NRA-ILA, which backed the measure, pointed out that one can currently openly carry a firearm in West Virginia without a permit or without the safety training required to get a concealed carry permit.

West Virgina SB 347 "constitutional carry" bill vetoed by Gov. Tomblin

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

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Bob January 24, 2020, 10:52 pm

    I am not from West Virginia but, I do have an opinion on this subject. In my opinion, most crimes that are committed are by people that do not have a concealed carry permit. Metal detectors do work so why aren’t they being used? How much are kids lives worth? Less than a metal detector? And I think if an armed person enters a school to kill students or teachers , he or she of any age needs to be stopped. If the police can’t talk them into surrendering, take them out; no matter what age they are. This country has gotten too civilized. When I was a boy, if you shot and killed a person in a criminal act, not talking about self defense now, but in the commission of a robbery or some other felony, you had a trial and if found guilty you were executed. I also think if you can’t live in our society without killing people, other than self defense of yourself or your family, then you ought to be executed. Law enforcement has a tough job as it is but, when they are confronted with an armed person that won’t comply, and won’t be negotiated with, they need to be stopped with lethal force when they think their life or other lives are endangered. People have the right to efend themselves. And our forefathers knew this. Our politions seem to have forgotten that. Concealed carry people don’t comitt crimes. They have learned from childhood, to shoot somebody for fun is wrong. Only criminals do that.Guns don’t kill people ; people kill people. And when they do they should know going in, that their life will be forfitted.

  • Christopher March 24, 2017, 7:31 pm

    Time to move back to.Huntington. SC has same 8 hour Education requirement but the fee is only $50 initially and $50 every 4-5 year renewal. Course and CCP has not prevented one person from obtaining a permit, however the cost of the course, permit, fingerprints have kept a number from taking the class. In an area where $125 for the initial application and course is based against wages of $8.00 an hour if you can get a job it’s basically a penalty on the poor.

    Over 30 years in policing I have NEVER arrested anyone that has a CCP for something related to or that would prohibit issuing a permit. Unfortunately we don’t have open carry even headed towards a bill. Strange part it was a Democratic Governor that signed the bill he thought it was needed. Same time quite a lot of stupid outdated gun laws were removed. Then we get the Bloomberg/Soros criminals committing felonies by straw purchases, lying on the 4473’s to prove illegal guns came from here.

    Look at London will they ban cars and kitchen knives? The most monitored city in the world still has a major terror issue. Do you think it could have been prevented by one armed & willing citizen

  • AmericanWakeUpProject March 27, 2015, 9:03 pm

    What I want to know is when in the heII did one man have the ability to abolish the will of the People, and BOTH of the Houses of Legislation in West Virginia? ONE MAN? Phuck THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE is essentially what he said to every g0d dammmn body in West Virginia!! He said Phuck what you want!!! And he gets away with it, we do nothing. This is not America any more, this is the last of the restricted, controlled, policed, enforced, mind conditioned and indoctrinated masses that don’t, won’t and can’t decide when the hell enough is enough and take back what they’ve taken from us. What planet an I on? What country am I in? Damn sure doesn’t seem like America to me.

  • Ralph Newkirk March 24, 2015, 3:50 pm

    Why is the Governor PUBLICLY FAILING TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION with this veto and is not IMMEDIATELY RECALLED and REPLACED WITH A REAL AMERICAN? The time for the NEXT REVOLUTION IS AT HAND! Check out Washington state’s Gun Show Bandit and then BUY A GUN!

  • Benjamin March 23, 2015, 6:22 pm

    Gary, I’m not sure which article you read. I’m a CC holder in WV and have been for 5 years. The bill would have got rid of the requirement for the NRA course and fee. A permit is required now and has been a requirement.

    M0ms Dem@nd Acti0n and Everyt0wn is claiming a victory here with this veto. Is our Governor(I’m a WV native and voter) getting some help from those despicable anti-gun millionares?

    I purposely adjusted the names of those groups so they don’t come up in web search, by the way.

  • LHS March 23, 2015, 12:40 pm

    These lying politicians swear to defend and uphold the Constitution. Not doing exactly that is breaking his/her oath and should therefore be removed immediately.

  • Kalashnikov Dude March 23, 2015, 12:28 pm

    Democrats do not think coherently. The NRA has been suffering from severe Republican disease. They are incapable of providing proper and just representation for citizens demanding recognition of our 2nd Amendment by our governments, because they have been compromised by politics. “High grades” from such an organization for this governor bear out the case for my statement. It’s that simple.

  • Jeff in WV March 23, 2015, 10:03 am

    Chris, We don’t have that problem of escalation in gun laws in West Virginia. It has been a little training and a short background check for some time now. It is only when outsiders come into the state and try to stir things up that we have problems. It is not just the Democrats that I am referring to. It is certain republicans and the NRA in this particular case that is creating an uproar (Yes, I too am a member of the NRA).

    Mark, yes it is a right to carry. That is not in dispute in this particular case. We in West Virginia just want to ensure that our right to peace and happiness is not disrupted by some bone-head who doesn’t have the proper gun handling knowledge or skills. Concerning the fees for the permit, it goes towards our law enforcement and other necessary local services.

    Michael Allen, thank you!

    Jim, the law would only allow the residents of West Virginia to conceal carry in this state only. It does not change anything concerning someone outside of the state who wanted to carry in this state. Nor does it change the rules for a resident of WV who wanted to carry in another state.

    Gary, the proposed law would have allowed a WV state resident to conceal carry without the now required 3 hour instructions and the permit fee.

  • Jim Smith March 23, 2015, 9:57 am

    I suspect the governor was acting at the undercover request of the NRA,they show a public face of support for constitutional carry,but then turn around behind closed doors and work against it as it’s a cash cow for them when training requirements are in effect and they charge $250.00 to train the trainers and $50.00 every two years to renew.I have insider legislative knowledge of this happening in my state previously.When we changed our state’s concealed carry permitting to “shall” it was the NRA lobbyist that rewrote it complete with the training requirement,and they also publicly backed a democrat non NRA member for the upcoming governor’s election against a republican former governor long time NRA life member to accomplish it.Political slight of hand behind closed doors for the NRA’s revenue protection is par for the course with them and trumps their support of true second amendment rights with them!I’ve witnessed it firsthand and it’s pretty obvious it was at work here.

  • Gary March 23, 2015, 9:15 am

    I believe there is a misunderstanding here. The article claims that in WV you can legally conceal carry without a permit now. This bill would have put some stipulations, and instituted some formal qualification process. The veto returns it to nothing required. Just wanted to make that clear…. What I find interesting is that the article claims the NRA actually supported this bill. That seems to represent a change in NRA position. Is that actually the case or do we not have all the facts here.

    • Jim Smith March 23, 2015, 10:01 am

      I suspect the governor was acting at the undercover request of the NRA,they show a public face of support for constitutional carry,but then turn around behind closed doors and work against it as it’s a cash cow for them when training requirements are in effect and they charge $250.00 to train the trainers and $50.00 every two years to renew.I have insider legislative knowledge of this happening in my state previously.When we changed our state’s concealed carry permitting to “shall” it was the NRA lobbyist that rewrote it complete with the training requirement,and they also publicly backed a democrat non NRA member for the upcoming governor’s election against a republican former governor long time NRA life member to accomplish it.Political slight of hand behind closed doors for the NRA’s revenue protection is par for the course with them and trumps their support of true second amendment rights with them!I’ve witnessed it firsthand and it’s pretty obvious it was at work here.

  • Jim March 23, 2015, 9:14 am

    What everyone here seems to miss is that the vetoed law would allow already permitted citizens from another state to conceal carry in West Virginia, without getting a permit in West Virginia. Eliminating reciprosity. Or do I owe everyone here an apology?

    • Mike March 23, 2015, 11:14 am

      Jim, the bill would have only allowed citizens of WV to carry concealed without a permit. Non-residents of WV would not be allowed to carry concealed unless they had a CC permit issued from their state and that state had a reciprocity agreement with WV.
      Reading all the comments about idiots waving guns around makes me think, If people are so worried about training why don’t we start that training in our schools. I take my 11 year old grandson to my gun club every Tuesday from 6:30 to 9:oo PM for air rifle training and practice. Before every session the trainers quiz the kids about safety. Of the ten kids four are girls and they do very well. Why couldn’t the schools do the same thing? The children would probably enjoy themselves, we could train more competitors and the kids would be instilled with gun safety awareness.

      • Kalashnikov Dude March 23, 2015, 12:40 pm

        Thanks Mike. Thus far you are one of the few beside myself who have been trying to point out the folly of ignoring proper education of our 2nd Amendment, age appropriate basic gun handling, and safety in our schools. The same folks who fight this notion tooth and nail are also demanding gay appreciation, how to place a condom on a banana, and driving. Our 2nd Amendment and the very fact there are more than 250,000,000 guns in this country should make at the very least, basic safety and handling in all of our schools a no brainer. My question is why doesn’t it for so many who claim to enjoy the benefits of “higher education”?

  • Michael Allen March 23, 2015, 8:45 am

    Jeff, I agree with you 100%. The safety training needs to be mandatory for concealed carry. I, too, am a carry permit holder and having proper basic safety training before being let loose to carry is a no-brainer. What’s a few hours in a classroom to make sure you decrease the chances of accidents?

  • Jeff in WV March 23, 2015, 7:58 am

    I think that Governor Tomblin did the right thing. C’mon, what’s a few hours of safety training and a short background check when you are talking about somebody carrying a loaded weapon,

    Imagine being in a line at the movie theater with your wife and kids, when some immature individuals are standing right behind you comparing firearms and pointing the muzzle at your children. A little safety training would go a long way in this situation.

    Yes, me and the misses both possess a concealed carry permit in West Virginia. But we did it the right way by taking the instructions and having a background check performed by the Sheriff’s Department.

    • Chris March 23, 2015, 8:30 am

      While I don’t mind the background check by the Sheriff’s department, this is what is called a slippery slope. First it’s just a background check, then it’s a safety class, then they tack on more hours of training, then they make the training ridiculously hard to complete, then they add mandatory annual safety training and anything else they can add to overload the system. Then they top it off by calling you a felon for possessing a weapon without the proper “government prescribed” training. That is always their end-game…. the ability to turn a citizen into a felon. ALL regulations have this feature.

      • Mahatma Muhjesbude March 23, 2015, 3:02 pm

        Chris! A pleasure to hear a true ‘enlightened’ one!

        They are masters of the concept of ‘Slippery Tyranny’.

        In fact, if anyone ever bothered to study the entire history of ‘gun control’ beginning with the 1934NFA.
        they’d experience a sickening heaviness in their guts. The greatest and most insidious fraud ever perpetrated on the Constution’s 2/A was to enact ANY kind of gun control for the specious notion of ‘public safety’ and/or ‘Crime Prevention’.

        And then the ’68 Gun Control act was the tipping point of their success curve by making gun ownership it a permanent punishment for crimes which in any substance or reasonable objectiveness defies all logic and purpose. Remember, ‘any’ felony, even those without weapon use or violence also banishes your inalienable right to own a gun forever! But if you used gasoline and matches to commit an arson, You are not banned from purchasing gas after you did your time?

        But since guns are the best tool for a ‘revolution’, potential tyrannies wanted to make sure they got those first. the 69 gun control act never had anything to do with safety or crime prevention. Only eventual disarmament of the populate. This set the stage for the government to eventually make fiat nullifications of the 2/A by simply having a ‘potential’ to make any and all citizens at the ‘right’ time and place ‘convicted felons’ simply by legislating draconian laws. Setting up the framework for blanket search and seizures. You think that can’t happen?

        Think again. We should start over again and repeal all gun control laws and remove the potential for everybody to be further burdened with useless laws designed only for inevitable gun prohibition and confiscation by simply increasing penalties for crimes committed but not creating a permanent society of criminals by permanently punishing everybody who pays for their crimes forever. All rights should be restored when you do your time and pay for your crime.
        If you do it again, you get a stiffer punishment.

        This prevents them from making laws that will also serve to disarm most of the population when ‘needed’

        Barbara Boxer would have gotten away with her ‘Pause for Safety’ bill had we not turned the Senate and Congress around last midterm. Since mentally Ill are also not ‘allowed’ by to have guns even though the can function well enough to be trusted to drive and anything else, Boxer’s law would have potentially banned 20 percent of all citizens from owning guns just because of their ‘mental condition’ which would be mainly a subjective observation! By almost anybody!

        We can’t let them leverage crime or anything else punishment with banning firearms ownership. Otherwise it’s like a totalitarian Freebie for them. And you can bet they’ll take it. Start by repealing the 1934 NFA act, the 68 GCA (which is Constitutionally Illegal, and violates another law prohibiting resistration of private firearms) and the ban on further civilian manufature of select fire weapons.

        Or get ready to wake up one morning to find out that you are committing some kind of crime which now bans you from owning a gun!

    • Mark Are March 23, 2015, 9:11 am

      The problem is that they have converted a right into a privilege with a $100 fee and training. I’m around gun folks all the time and they don’t take out their guns and show them off ANYWHERE let alone while standing in a line at a movie theater. I don’t believe in IF anymore, it is for five year olds.

    • rappini March 23, 2015, 9:46 am

      Jeff, are you sure you have right web site to comment on?

    • arnold March 23, 2015, 2:28 pm

      Jeff is correct. For those afraid of a “slippery slope” you may not know the history of how we got here. Until the last 20 years, most states prohibited ALL concealed carry by non-law enforcement persons. With the help of the NRA concealed carry has been enacted in most states, with some simple requirements, the biggest being back ground checks. Here in Ky, you have a easy course on gun laws and safety along with easy demonstrated ability to operate a fire arm. All this makes for better gun ownership and use. We gun owners for decades argued responsible use and ownership is our right. The CC laws in Ky reflect what we argued for. Now some want to keep moving the ball toward unregulated concealed carry. This is inconsistent with what we first argued for and frankly makes gun owners appear unwilling to be even concerned at all with public concerns for safety. I say this as a gun nut brother, we better start paying attention to the public concerns and doing what is can that is reasonable to assure non gun owners we are also concerned about being assured CC is putting guns only in the hands of good citizens. The polls shown we are diminishing in % of the voting public. The Supreme Court ruling recognizing our personal rights under the Second Amendment had a one vote majority and expressly stated our rights were subject to “reasonable regulation” by the state That is true for every Constitutional right, be it speech, assembly, even religion . That being so, our rights are not as nearly secure as we like to think. My point is simple, gun owners need to lead on the issue of responsible regulation for credibility and keeping the enjoyment of the rights we have now. Fighting the minimal regulations now in effect on CC in most states only hams our standing with the public. And yes, I am a lawyer, a criminal prosecutor of 30+ years and an owner of more handguns that I dare admit. Laws change as people’s values change. We best pick our battles, and unregulated CC is not one we should fight.

    • Jim March 23, 2015, 10:49 pm

      Even adding on top of what chris said just earlier in response to you… You mention about immature persons comparing firearms in a movie theater line. Think about how people are when driving their cars… They all have training and licenses.. But having those does not make them quality drivers and it definitely doesn’t mean they should be on the streets behind the wheel. It does, however, mean they have successfully passed a state prescribed test which also includes a demonstration of skill. Just because there may be those few, very few persons that will act immaturely… Doesn’t mean there is justifiable reason to take away my rights to constitutionally carry a firearm.

  • Jeff March 23, 2015, 7:38 am

    I’m not an expert or even close, but it seems from that article and what Folk said, it was timing.

    Next year they will do this again where even if Tomblin vetoes, the legislature will over ride his veto.

  • Oliver March 23, 2015, 5:15 am

    Yeah, what about a Veto Override? Why no mention of that?

    • Pat March 23, 2015, 10:01 am

      If you had finished reading the article you wouldn’t have had to ask this question……..

  • CHLTexas March 21, 2015, 9:00 pm

    It appears to me that both legislative bodies have enough votes to override the veto and show the govenor that the people’s voice is stronger than his pen.

  • Al March 21, 2015, 12:12 pm

    My question is if this were to pass, what would it mean for the millions of illegal aliens dumped here by the train load? Would the US Constitution protect them even to the point of constitutional carry? Level 3 sex offenders and MS-13 are being dumped here. I should still like it to be a felony for THEM to be armed – and hopefully (albeit wishful thinking) imprisoned and then deported, if that’s even possible.

    • DJ March 23, 2015, 6:17 pm

      Your concerns are understandable but the people you have mentioned are criminals and won’t follow any laws anyway. And they will have weapons anyway even without the bill passing. This Bill only effects law abiding citizens, not criminals.

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