WV gun bill would strip concealed carry permits

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Concealed carry permits may become a thing of the past if West Virginia becomes the fifth state not to require concealed handgun permits.

State lawmakers are pushing a bill that would eliminate concealed carry permits in the state, passing it out of committee Monday and onto the Senate Floor.

“What we did was reaffirm the second amendment rights of the constitution,” said Sen. Daniel Hall, R- Wyoming, one of the bill’s sponsors.

Under current law, a person in West Virginia is allowed to openly carry a gun without any sort of permit. However, if he or she wants to carry a gun concealed, he or she must apply for a license and complete a safety training course.

“Criminals are going to illegally carry a firearm anyway, whether they are eligible or not. All it does is disarm the law-abiding citizens,” said Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, the bill’s lead sponsor.

The West Virginia Sheriff’s Association opposes the bill.

“If you are going to put yourself in a position where you are carrying a deadly weapon, you at least ought to provide yourself with training,” said Rodney Miller, the association’s executive director. “Any type of critical set of circumstances you always revert back to your training.”

Another reason Miller said the association opposes the bill is because it could cost sheriff’s departments “much-needed” funds. Money collected from concealed carry permits often goes toward buying smaller departments bullet-proof vests and cruisers.

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