Friday, February 26, 2016

WV: Constitutional Carry Passes Senate with Veto Proof Margins

The West Virginia Senate passed an amended HB 4145 on Monday, 22 February, 2016.  The bill is also called constitutional carry or permitless carry.  The bill passed with an overwhelming, veto proof margin of 24 to 9. 
People 21 years and older would be allowed to carry concealed guns in West Virginia without permits or training under a bill that passed the Senate on Monday.

Senators voted 24-9 to approve the measure Monday. The bill requires at least one additional House vote before the Republican-led Legislature sends it to Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who vetoed a similar proposal last year over safety concerns from law enforcement. All local senators voted for the bill.
Because the Senate amended the bill, it will have to return to the House for concurrence.  The amendments in the Senate appear to be mostly in technical without changing the basic thrust of the bill. For example, a provision in the House version provided for a mandatory prison term of 10 years for "use or display" of a firearms during any felony.  The Senate changed that to 5 years, and added in an exemption for people who acted in self defense in good faith.
Bill text from WV legislative site
1 (a) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by any
2 other provision of law, any person who uses or displays a firearm during the planning or
3 commission of any felony shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such felony, be
4 sentenced to an additional term of imprisonment in a state correctional facility of five years, which
5 sentence may not be reduced or suspended.
HB 4145 also contains a mechanism for people 18-20 to obtain a provisional permit to carry.  The permitless or Constitutional carry provisions apply to people 21 or over.

The bill is moving rapidly.  It passed the West Virginia House on February 8th, 68-31. From
Today, House Bill 4145, NRA-endorsed legislation that would allow an individual to lawfully carry a concealed handgun without a permit, passed the House of Delegates with a bipartisan 68-31 vote.
 Last year, in 2015, the bill passed with large margins in both the House and the Senate, and was sent to Governor Tomblin.  The bill was sent to the Governor on the last day of the legislative session, allowing the Governor to veto it with almost no chance of the legislature overriding the veto.  This year the bill has been expedited in an attempt to get it to the Governor with enough time to override a veto, if necessary.  In West Virginia, an veto override can be done with a simple majority, unless it is a budget bill.

Six states have restored constitutional carry to various degrees.  They are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine and Wyoming.  Vermont has had constitutional carry for its entire history, so it did not need to restore it. 

In addition to West Virginia, legislation is also being considered in Indiana, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.  Mississippi enacted a law last year that is very close to Constitutional carry.  Constitutional carry is the law in 99% of Montana and Idaho.

15 years ago, Constitutional carry was a dream for most Second Amendment supporters.  Many derided it as unobtainable.  It has been restored in 6 states, and is being debated in 15 others, some of which have passed bills with veto proof majorities in previous years.

 ©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.  Link to Gun Watch

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