CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Ahead of a vote in the coming days on legislation that would dismantle West Virginia’s concealed carry permit system, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released a new poll showing that 84 percent of likely voters in West Virginia – including 87 percent of gun owners – favor requiring permits to carry a concealed handgun in public in West Virginia.
HB 4145, which awaits a vote in the House,would dismantle the state’s current handgun permitting system and allow dangerous people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public with no background check, gun safety training and no permit. Last year, the West Virginia legislature passed similar legislation and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed it.
“The vast majority of West Virginians of all political parties, gun owners and non-gun owners alike, have no interest in dismantling one of our state’s most fundamental public safety standards,” said Dee Price Childers, a volunteer with the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “As a mom I wouldn’t want to take my children out in public to places where someone who has not passed a background check and has had no safety training could be carrying a hidden, loaded handgun. For that basic, common sense reason, I urge lawmakers to reject HB 4145 and similar legislation.”
The poll, conducted 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 18-20 years old.
HB 4145 would dismantle the current permitting system by allowing some of these individuals to carry a concealed handgun without any training or permitting. If HB 4145 becomes law, West Virginia would join only a handful of five other 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.