Last year, West Virginia came within a cats hair of enacting Constitutional carry into law. The law passed with veto proof margins in the House and the Senate. It was only through insider shenanigans that the bill was sent to Governor Tomblin late enough for him to veto it without a chance for a veto override. From wvgazettemail.com:
Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a similar bill last year, by a 32-2 margin in the Senate and 71-29 in the House. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed the bill, citing “overwhelming opposition” from law enforcement officers statewide.West Virginia is very likely to pass Constitutional carry into law in 2016. West Virginia Citizens Defense League is guarding against such underhanded tactics as were employed last year. From WVCDL LOBBY DAY 2016:
“In light of those concerns, and in the interest of public safety, I believe a veto is appropriate,” Tomblin said in the veto message issued March 20, about a week after the 2015 regular session adjourned.
Legislative leaders are taking the bill up early this session, with the intent of assuring that the Legislature still will be in session to vote to override a potential gubernatorial veto this year.
Judiciary Committee members advanced the legislation to the House floor Wednesday evening on a 17-6 vote, with a bill that closely resembles the final version of the bill that passed the Legislature last session.
Last year the WVCDL membership was able to successfully pass 3-22 Carry (also known as permitless or constitutional carry). The bill had bipartisan support, and an overwhelming majority in the House and the Senate. Unfortunately Governor Tomblin chose to veto the bill.Several other states are looking to join the once exclusive, but rapidly growing Constitutional Carry club. There are about as many Constitutional carry states as there are states that still issue concealed carry permits on a "may issue" basis. Given the Supreme Court decisions of Heller and McDonald, it is hard to see "may issue" as defensible in court. The Ninth Circuit is currently re-hearing the Peruta decision en banc. Peruta struck down "may issue" in the Ninth Circuit.
3-22 Carry will be the primary focus of the WVCDL again in 2016 and this year we want to see the bill pass through the legislature with plenty of time for a veto override.
Depending on how you define the issues and count the states, there are between 7 and 10 Constitutional carry states. There are 6 "may issue" states concentrated in the Northeast, with California in the West and Hawaii in the Pacific.
The proposed West Virginia law has a few limitations:
That includes limiting conceal-carry without a permit to people age 21 and older who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms. People between 18 and 21 would be able to obtain a provisional conceal-carry license, upon completion of a background check and a gun-safety course.Given the overwhelming approval of Constitutional carry last year, it should not be too long before the West Virginia Legislature passes it again.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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