Charleston, West Virginia – Following its vote out of the legislature today, the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, is strongly urging Governor Tomblin to stand up to gun lobby interests and veto S.B. 347, a bill that would effectively dismantle West Virginia’s concealed carry permitting system. If S.B. 347 becomes law, West Virginia would join only four other states to abandon these core public safety standards by allowing people to carry concealed, loaded guns in public with no permit and no training required.
“It’s just common sense that if a person wants to carry a loaded, concealed handgun in public they need to demonstrate they have a clean criminal record and have been trained to carry a gun safely. If this bill becomes law, people in our state who have never learned to shoot,handle, or even load a gun would be able to carry concealed, loaded handguns in public without a permit—that’s a very clear risk to public safety, which is why I stand with the 83 percent of West Virginians who think it’s important for people to have training and a permit before carrying a concealed handgun in public,” said Dee Price, a volunteer with the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Governor Tomblin must stand up to gun lobby interests, stand with West Virginia law enforcement and voters, and veto this dangerous bill.”
Last week, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action released a new bipartisan poll, available here, that finds 83 percent of likely voters in West Virginia – including 81 percent of gun owners – favor requiring permits to carry a concealed handgun in public in West Virginia. The poll also revealed that 50 percent of West Virginia voters are less likely to vote for a candidate who supported a repeal of permitting requirements like SB 347.
SB 347, if signed into low, would lower the bar for who can carry a hidden, loaded gun in West Virginia. Currently, several categories of people are prohibited from carrying in public under the state’s concealed carry permitting system, including:
- Anyone who has never been trained in handling and firing a gun;
- Anyone convicted of misdemeanor crimes of violence within the past five years; and
- Anyone with multiple convictions for driving under the influence in the last 3 years.
SB 347 would dismantle the current permitting and allow these individuals to carry a concealed handgun in public.
In addition to releasing the poll, in efforts to raise awareness about this dangerous bill, mail pieces targeting both parties hit mailboxes this week along with a days long digital ad buy in the Charleston area that focus on the widespread opposition in West Virginia to SB 347.