Local law enforcement officers comment on legislation that allows people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. It’s a bill many are calling controversial. House Bill 4145 is on the desk of West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. If it becomes a law, people over 21-years-old who can legally carry a gun will not be required to have a concealed carry permit. Chief Deputy Darrell Bailey with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department shared his concerns about the proposed law.
Bailey said, “We believe in the right to carry. There are problems with the bill we feel should be changed and I think the biggest one is training. People really need to be trained on how to use a firearm.”
Bailey said all police offices he knows are for the Second Amendment. Detective Kenneth Adams with the Bluefield West Virginia Police Department is also for the Second Amendment but said if this bill passes into law, it wouldn’t be good for law enforcement.
Adams said, “If this law passes, individuals will be carrying this firearm but not only will the officer then have to determine whether or not this person has any felonies on their record or whether this person had a domestic violence conviction, that would prohibit them from carrying a firearm. The officer may not even be able to determine if this person has a mental issue.”
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor John McGinnis said he maintains a concealed carry permit in West Virginia and will continue to maintain that permit for when he travels outside to other states. He explains more on what the bill says.
McGinnis said, “People under the age of 21 in other words people between 18 and 21 would have to have a permit to carry. They can’t carry without a permit.”
59News reached out to the governor’s office. We’re told Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is looking over the bill. He has until Thursday March 3, 2016 to decide if the bill becomes a law or not.