Despite general concerns prior to implementation, West Virginia’s concealed carry law, which went into effect last June, has not negatively affected police safety.
The law allows anyone over the age of 21 who can legally possess a firearm to conceal carry without a permit.
Bridgeport Police Sergeant C.S. Carpenter told The Exponent Telegram that he has not noticed an increase in gun violence since the law went into effect six months ago.
Despite this, he still thinks gun owners should get a permit, if they want to carry a concealed weapon.
“I believe even though citizens have the right to carry concealed, they still should get a permit for proper training on how and when to use these firearms,” Carpenter said.
And many people have, he added.
Carpenter went on to say that a majority of people who are stopped by an officer willingly reveal whether or not they are armed.
“In the back of everyone’s mind is the thought of a possible concealed weapon. Many officers are apt to ask about a weapon. Most relinquish that information when we first make contact,” Carpenter said.
Harrison County Sheriff Robert Matheny told The Exponent Telegram that the law hasn’t created any problems for police officers, thus far.
“There is no change in heightened awareness. Personally, I’m not aware that the new law has created a problem so far. It does increase the possibility that someone we come in contact with is armed,” he said.
“Since the law passed, I believe officers approach situations as they are trained and as they should,” Matheny continued. “Guns are out there. We are aware of that. We respond. During training, they teach us that at every call we go on, there is at least one gun involved, that being the one the officer carries into the situation. That’s why it’s very important — on every call — to have the proper mindset and tactical ability to react properly.”
Matheny finished by saying that it’s too early to determine the full effect of the law on officer safety.
But what we do know is the effect the law has had on gun sales.
Sydney Peterlinz from McFly Outdoors in Bridgeport, West Virginia, told The Exponent Telegram, “There definitely has been an increase in handgun sales in the past six months.”