West Virginia Universities Prepare as Campus Carry Takes Effect

AP Photo/Al Behrman, File

Starting Monday, concealed carry will be allowed on the campuses of West Virginia colleges and universities, albeit with a few exceptions like daycare facilities and events hosting more than 1,000 people. 


The new rules taking effect also prohibit students living in dorms from keeping their carry guns in their room. Instead, they must store their firearms in a storage locker, at a cost of $140 per semester. 

These students can access the storage room at any time while dormitories are open and will use their Student ID to open their designated locker.

Both the Evansdale storage room, located in the lobby of Brooke Tower, and the Downtown storage room, located in Summit Hall, each hold 60 storage lockers. 

A camera inside the storage room is monitored by the University Police Department, and the room is lined with ballistic panels to stop projectiles in case of an “accidental discharge,” according to April Kaull, executive director of news and communications. 

“Each of the lockers has a combination that is specific to that student, so it’s a multi-layered safety approach for each of these rooms, and that’s consistent across the WVU system,” Kaull said.  

Most of the campus, however, will be open to lawful concealed carry. And despite the fearmongering from opponents who lobbied legislators to reject the campus carry bill in 2023, university officials are now letting the public know that other states where the law is already in place haven't had any issues. 

“Speaking with our counterparts across the country, there’s not been any significant increase in any issue related to [mental health], where this type of law is already going to focus elsewhere, but it’s certainly on our radar. We’ll pay attention, we'll monitor again, just because it’s not happening elsewhere, we’ll still monitor here to make sure we are following up,” he said.

Students and faculty who choose to carry must be compliant with the law by concealing handguns at all times, Farris said. Licensed individuals must have a permit, follow guidelines and have the necessary training.

Those who find someone not in compliance can notify UPD for further instruction.

“We’re not going to put any of our faculty staff or students in an unsafe situation, but we’ll give them the tools how to manage it the best way possible. Most certainly, if there’s any threat of any sort, I mean our message is dial 911,” Farris said.


While students and staff will be able to lawfully carry on campus for the first time on Monday, their counterparts in Colorado will officially be forbidden from doing so for the first time in over a decade. Colorado Democrats voted to repeal the state's campus carry law earlier this year, and Gov. Jared Polis made the ban official when he signed the bill into law last month. 

In addition to prohibiting lawful concealed carry on the grounds of public colleges and universities, the law also bans concealed firearms in all K-12 schools (with an exception for armed school staff) and government buildings. Local governments are able to opt out of those restrictions if they want, but the regents who oversee higher education in the state weren't given the same latitude.

The Democrats who repealed Colorado's campus carry law couldn't point to any issues with the statute. It was their innate hostility toward our Second Amendment rights that motivated them to deny students and staff the ability to protect themselves with a firearm when they're on campus. These folks can carry in grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants, and movie theaters in Boulder or Fort Collins, but apparently they're not trustworthy enough to set foot on the campus of CU-Boulder or Colorado State so long as they're legally armed. 

Colorado's campus carry ban won't make those universities safer places, any more than West Virginia's new law will make WVU less safe. Criminals will continue to ignore the laws in both states, but at least lawful gun owners in the Mountaineer State will soon have the ability to protect themselves both on and off campus. That's a big win, and Monday's a big day for Second Amendment supporters in West Virginia. 


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