Yesterday, Senate Bill 347, NRA-backed permitless carry legislation, passed the House of Delegates with all proposed floor amendments being defeated! SB 347 is now on its third reading in the House and will then be sent back to the Senate for concurrence before heading to Governor Tomblin to be signed. Please show Governor Tomblin the strong support his constituents have for this bill by calling (304) 558-2000 and politely urging him to sign SB 347!
As previously reported, SB 347 is a necessary update to concealed carry statutes in West Virginia and would recognize your right to legally carry concealed without having to obtain a Concealed Handgun License (CHL), allowing law-abiding gun owners the ability to better protect themselves and their loved ones. In West Virginia, it is already legal to carry a firearm openly, as long as the individual is not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. However, under current law, if a firearm becomes covered by a coat or if a woman prefers to carry a firearm for self-protection in her purse, he or she would need to possess a concealed pistol permit.
The adopted committee substitute changes the age for those who can legally carry from 18 to 21, adds enhanced penalties for felony crimes with a firearm and allows for the recouping of legal fees from unlawful permit denials. This substitute was a combined effort between the NRA, the West Virginia Citizen’s Defense League and the West Virginia Sheriff’s Association to act in good faith to make a better bill for all those involved.
SB 347 gives you the freedom to choose the best method of carrying, based on your attire, gender and/or physical attributes. Also important, this legislation would keep in place the current permitting system so that people who obtain a permit could still enjoy the reciprocity agreements that West Virginia has with other states across the country.
This week, House Bill 2636, important permit holder confidentiality legislation, passed favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will now be considered for final passage by the full Senate. Please contact your state Senator and urge him or her to SUPPORT HB 2636.
As previously reported, HB 2636, introduced by state Delegate Michael Folk (R-63), would exempt information contained in a concealed handgun license application from the Freedom of Information Act. This respects all law-abiding concealed carry holders’ right to privacy by closing to the public the list of residents with concealed carry licenses.
This is essential legislation for the protection of law-abiding gun owners in the Mountain State. In the past, there have been several instances of anti-gun media outlets publishing the names and addresses of concealed handgun license holders, jeopardizing the safety and privacy of many law-abiding citizens. These actions place lawful concealed carry holders at risk to criminals who may target their home to steal firearms. HB 2636 would ensure that this never happens in West Virginia. An individual exercising his or her Second Amendment rights should not be put at risk of being a victim of gun theft by the public exposure of their private information, and enactment of this concealed handgun license holders protection legislation will prevent such abuse. The privacy of carry permit holders in 43 states is now protected by laws similar to HB 2636.
Both of these bills, SB 347 and HB 2636, stand to benefit law-abiding gun owners throughout West Virginia. Please contact Governor Tomblin in support of Senate Bill 347 by calling (304) 558-2000 or emailing him, here. Also, please contact your state Senator in support of House Bill 2636.
Please stay tuned to your email inbox and www.nraila.org for further updates.