Police talk mask mandate and how it affects concealed carry laws

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — After Governor Jim Justice announced a mask mandate, there were some questions about people carrying concealed guns in public.

Typically, with a concealed carry permit, people are not supposed to cover their face at all while carrying. During the Governor’s COVID-19 briefing on Monday, July 6, 2020, his legal counsel, Brian Abraham, made it clear people can still carry their guns while adhering to the mask mandate.

Princeton Police Chief, Tim Gray, said while there is a state code prohibiting mask wearing in general, the rules can change during a global pandemic.

“At this point in time it looks like the Governor is trying to get everyone wearing a mask in a public area, so concealed or not, it’s for their safety. They should wear one and right now it seems like it’s being required to do so,” Gray explained.

An owner of a local shooting range, Gunsmoke Pistol Range, is commenting after West Virginia’s new mask mandate.

Sara Chaffin, the co-owner of Gunsmoke Pistol Range, said even with a mask mandate, people want their constitutional right to carry.

“The Governor had to make sure he didn’t infringe on anybody’s second amendment rights whatsoever. So, with you carrying a gun and wearing a mask, he had to make sure both of them were covered, so nobody’s rights were taken away,” Chaffin explained.

Chaffin also told 59News it is hard to enforce the mandatory mask rule at the range. Gun enthusiasts are required to wear goggles in the range for safety, but the masks cause those goggles to fog, creating a dangerous situation.

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