Charleston, West Virginia—Following its vote out of committee late last night, the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is today urging lawmakers to oppose 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 required.
“As West Virginians and parents, we are terribly concerned about dismantling West Virginia’s concealed carry permitting system and we strongly urge the full Senate to look at what this bill actually does and vote “No” on S.B. 347,” said Dee Price, a volunteer with the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “It’s really alarming that our legislators don’t seem to realize that 46 states, including ours, have a permitting system in place because it’s just common sense that violent criminals and people who haven’t been adequately trained shouldn’t be able to carry hidden, loaded guns around our children and in our communities. Getting rid of this important safeguard would be a dangerous step in the wrong direction.”
The bill would lower the bar for who can carry a concealed, loaded gun in West Virginia. Currently, several categories of people are prohibited from carrying in public under the concealed carry permitting system, including:
· anyone convicted of misdemeanor crimes of violence,
· anyone with multiple convictions for driving under the influence, and
· anyone 18-21 years old.
S.B. 347 would remove the permitting requirement entirely and allow people as young as 18 years old, individuals with multiple DUIs, and those convicted of violent gun crimes to carry a concealed weapon without any training or permitting. Further, S.B. 347 would block law enforcement who stop an armed suspect from being able to tell whether he is a dangerous felon or an ordinary citizen – putting officers’ lives at risk and endangering all West Virginians.