The West Virginia Senate passed a sweeping firearms reform bill today by convincing 24-9 majority.
Legislation to permit concealed carry of firearms without permits, background checks, or safety training (HB4145) passed the Senate Monday on a 24-9 vote.
Opponents of the measure cited near-unanimous opposition from law enforcement agencies, with Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, commenting, “We’re setting into play a situation where we could have blood on our hands.”
Proponents, however, said encouraging an armed citizenry will make the state safer. “
One thing is certain: Where there are gun-free zones, there are more gun violence,” said Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley.
Likewise, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Trump, R-Morgan, cited a number of mass shootings, including weekend violence in Kalamazoo, Mich.
“It’s hard to know whether or not an armed citizen would have been able to prevent some of that loss of life,” said Trump, who described the legislation as an expansion of the right to bear arms.
The bill will go back to the House to reconcile minor differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation before being sent to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Tomblin vetoed a similar bill last year at the end of the legislative session. This time the House and Senate have both plenty of time and votes to override Tomblin’s expected veto.
Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action spent a considerable amount of money—something in the six figures—in a public relations campaign against the bill, but were convincingly swept aside by a more than 2-1 majority.