West Virginia's "Constitutional Carry" Bill Heads To Governor Tomblin's Desk

The Firearms Act of 2015, a bill that would see West Virginia become a “constitutional carry” state,  has made it to the desk of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.  The bill would allow Mountaineers to carry a firearm either concealed or openly without a permit. West Virginia already allows permitless open carry.

Whether or not Gov. Tomblin will sign the act seems to be something of a mystery.

During a press conference Saturday at the Capitol in Charleston, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin expressed concerns over the bill.

“I know our police officers, city police, state police, deputy sheriffs, all have a great deal of concern about it,” Tomblin said. “It’s one I will take a close look at.”

Tomblin said an amendment by the House to raise the legal age from 18 to 21 for concealed carry without a permit has helped allay some fears, but there remain issues with the bill, including how it would work with people traveling between states.

“There are still a lot of questions about what do we do with reciprocity. We have agreements with 30 other states,” he said.

Tomblin said he has not ruled out vetoing the bill.

“That’s a possibility,” he said.

Once the bill hits the governor’s desk, there are three options. The governor can sign the act, veto the act, or simply allow it to become law without signing it once fifteen days (excluding Sundays) have passed.

There appear to be the votes to pass the bill over in both houses over a veto, and the legislature has already overridden a veto from Tomblin once this session. A  veto that is all but assured of being overturned.

It would seem to be in Tomblin’s best interests to work a deal with the Republican majority to have them offer a follow-up bill to address reciprocity concerns that the governor may have in exchange for his signature.

The Firearms Act of 2015 is part of a wave of pro-liberty bills across the nation dedicated to expanding gun rights and rolling back gun control laws.