CHARLESTON, W.Va. – With the Senate voting 24-9 to pass legislation that would dismantle West Virginia’s concealed carry permit system, the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement criticizing the legislation. The bill now returns to the House for final passage.
House Bill 4145 runs contrary to new polling showing that 84 percent of likely voters in West Virginia – including 87 percent of gun owners – favor requiring safety training and a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public in West Virginia. Last year, the West Virginia legislature passed similar legislation and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed it.
STATEMENT FROM DIANE PENDLETON, VOLUNTEER WITH THE WEST VIRGINIA CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“The state Senate, under the leadership of President Bill Cole, has let down law enforcement and 84 percent of West Virginians who oppose dismantling of our state’s permitting standards. It is simple common sense to require anyone who wants to carry hidden, loaded firearms in public to pass a background check, know how to safely handle a gun and get a permit. Unfortunately, the members of the West Virginia legislature are catering to the radical agenda of the gun lobby rather than listening to their constituents – and are putting West Virginia families at risk as a result.”
The new poll, conducted for Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund by Survey USA, also found that:
- 89 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of Republicans favor requiring permits to carry a concealed handgun in public in West Virginia
- 84 percent of concealed carry permit holders favor requiring permits to carry a concealed handgun in public in West Virginia
- 87 percent of gun owners favor requiring permits to carry a concealed handgun in public in West Virginia
HB 4145 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 convicted of misdemeanor crimes of violence,
- Anyone with multiple convictions for driving under the influence, and
- Anyone who has not completed a handgun safety course.
HB 4145 would dismantle the current permitting system and would allow many of these individuals to carry a concealed handgun without passing a background check and getting a permit. If HB 4145 becomes law, West Virginia would join only a handful of states in abandoning core public safety standards by allowing people to carry hidden, loaded guns in public with no permit. HB 4145 is also strongly opposed by law enforcement from across the state.