The House also approved House Bill 2679 by a vote of 94-4. The measure would allow firearms to be carried in state and county parks for self-defense, and it would prohibit county parks from banning guns.In 2016, West Virgina reformed its weapons carry laws to a form of Constitutional Carry. No permit is required for either open or concealed carry. As with all the states that have moved from a shall issue law to Constitutional Carry, West Virginia maintained their carry permit for the convenience of legal gun owners. HB 2679 removes bans on the exercise of Second Amendment rights in state or local parks and recreation areas. Here is the summation from HB 2679:
Coonskin Park in Kanawha County is apparently the only county park in the state to prohibit guns. Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, argued that county officials should be allowed to restrict guns in the park because it is next to Yeager Airport and state National Guard facilities, but the park was home to a skeet range for several years.
A BILL to amend and reenact §7-11-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §20-2-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to the possession of firearms in parks and park facilities generally; prohibiting county parks and recreation commissions from promulgating or enforcing rules which prohibit possession of firearms; providing magistrate courts with concurrent jurisdiction; carrying a firearm for self-defense in state parks and state forests; providing exceptions; and clarifying that nothing in the section authorizes counties or municipalities to limit a person’s ability to possess, transfer over, carry or transport a firearm or ammunition in a state park, state forest, or recreational areas in state wildlife management areas under the Division of Natural Resources, provided that such person is not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms.The bill still has to be heard and passed in the Senate, then either be signed or vetoed by Governor (D) Jim Justice. Former Governor (D) Ray Tomblin vetoed the Constitutional Carry bill, but the veto was overridden.
Update: The bill passed the Senate on 1 April. Some language was changed but the intent seems mostly the same. It passed the Senate 30-3, and has been sent back to the House for concurrence. It looks likely to be signed by the governor.
The reform follows a trend in the United States to reduce and eliminate "gun free" zones. President Trump made reduction and elimination of gun free zones one of his campaign promises in 2016.
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