West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin had long ago signaled that he would veto legislation that would make West Virginia a “constitutional carry” state where people over the age of 21 could carry a handgun either openly or concealed without a permit. Yesterday, he did just that.
One of the most controversial bills passed by the house and senate this legislative session was vetoed by Gov. Tomblin on March 3, 2016. It would allow people to carry hidden guns without permits or training.
“Our law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe, and helping us in times of need,” said Gov. Tomblin before signing the veto. “Now it’s time for us to return the favor and veto House Bill 4145 for the safety of our law enforcement officers and all West Virginians.”
Surrounded by representatives from every law enforcement branch in West Virginia, he signed the veto to House Bill 4145 saying passing it would put law enforcement in even more danger.
“But its not just a danger to law enforcement, all of the public is equally as in danger. I dread the opportunity that people will be carrying a gun to every football game, to the malls on Friday night, to their favorite restaurants,” said Sheriff Steve Tanner, President of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association.
Supporters of the bill came roaring back today with a 64-33 veto override.
West Virginia is close to joining a short list of states that let people carry hidden guns without permits or training.
The GOP-led House voted Friday to override Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of the bill. The Senate will likely follow.
The bill would take effect in late May.
Surrounded by law enforcement officials Thursday, Tomblin vetoed the bill over safety concerns. He vetoed similar legislation last year.
It’s legal in West Virginia to carry guns openly – in a holster, for instance – without permits.
The bill would let people conceal guns in public without permits, by wearing a coat for example. People ages 18 through 20 would need permits and training with live firing.
It’s not known if the Senate will override Tomblin’s veto today or early next week, but the override is all but assured.
West Virginia will join Alaska, Wyoming, Arizona, Vermont, Maine and Kansas as states with some form of constitutional carry. More states are poised to follow, with constitutional carry bills being one of the most popular gun bills being proposed nationwide.