“We’re giving the people the ability to protect themselves without paying a fee”
As Obama, Bloomberg, and assorted progressives continue in their gun-grabbing push, red states and those states with Republican legislative majorities have been pushing back, legalizing guns on campus, expanding carry laws, and now, in West Virginia, allowing permitless concealed carry.
In a bipartisan vote in first the State House and then in the State Senate, the governor’s veto was overridden.
It will soon be legal for adults in West Virginia to carry hidden handguns with no training and without a permit, after the Legislature acted swiftly, and against the wishes of law enforcement, to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of the legislation.
Tomblin held a rare veto-signing ceremony Thursday, surrounded by dozens of police officers, to try to convince legislators to let the veto stand.
“I urge you to look around this room for a moment and see that law enforcement are concerned about this bill,” Tomblin said Thursday.
They didn’t listen.
The House voted 64-33 to override the veto on Friday.
And on Saturday, the Senate voted 23-11 to override.
The vote to override was bipartisan in both houses.
The primary bone of contention is the “permitless” part and the lack of weapons training that suggests.
The Charleston Gazette continues:
“While we completely respect the law enforcement community, we also will always come down on the side of the Constitution and ensuring that our rights are protected,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said Friday. “They want the permit process and the training associated with that, which I completely respect and admire their position, but the constitutional authority to carry a weapon is inherent in our Second Amendment.”
Carmichael acknowledged that he knew of no court that had ever ruled the concealed weapons permit process to be unconstitutional. He also said he did not think the current permitting process was unconstitutional.
Tomblin issued a statement immediately after the override, condemning the Legislature’s actions.
“West Virginia’s law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe and helping us in times of need, and it’s disheartening that the members of the Legislature have chosen not to stand with these brave men and women – putting their safety and the safety of West Virginians at risk,” Tomblin said. “It’s unfortunate that the concerns of officers from every law enforcement branch in the state, including the West Virginia State Police and university campus police officers, have been ignored by today’s action.”
Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, noted that public opinion polling was overwhelmingly against allowing permitless concealed weapons.
In a nod to the opposition regarding the lack of training, the bill, now law, contains a tax credit for West Virginians who obtain proper weapons’ training.
The bill provides a $50 tax credit for anyone who chooses to get the training necessary for a permit.
Tomblin criticized the tax credit in his veto message, calling it “ill advised” at a time when the state is facing a budget crisis.
The bill also increases criminal penalties for using a weapon while committing a crime and for felons who illegally carry a gun.
Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, released a statement praising the increased penalties and the tax credit.
“This bill allows West Virginians to protect themselves without the government’s permission,” Cole said. “I am proud of this version, and I am pleased that today we were able to stand up for the constitutional rights our citizens hold so dear.”
Cole is not the only West Virginia lawmaker who views the new law as a Second Amendment victory.
Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said allowing permitless concealed guns would act as a deterrent to crime.
“We’re giving the people the ability to protect themselves without paying a fee,” Blair said. “I can hear freedom knocking on the doors in West Virginia and that’s exactly what this does.”
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