The enactment of House Bill 4145, West Virginia’s Permitless Carry legislation, represents an unprecedented expansion of rights for law-abiding West Virginians. It is also unprecedented in its path to eventual enactment. House Bill 4145 overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the Legislature on February 24, 2016. Governor Tomblin then waited the full constitutionally permitted time-period before he vetoed the legislation on March 3, 2016. Two days later, on March 5, 2016, the West Virginia Senate concurred with the House’s veto override vote the previous day and reaffirmed their support of HB 4145. After this significant victory for law-abiding, responsible gun owners in West Virginia, everyone’s immediate attention turned to deciphering when HB 4145 would go into effect.
Given its path to eventual legislative approval—notwithstanding the objections of the Governor—there was considerable confusion as to when the “in effect 90 days from passage” would begin to toll. Today, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey put all of that confusion to rest. In a statement released today, Attorney General Morrisey wrote, “[the June 5, 2016 effective date] was intended to be conservative and avoid any improper prosecution of gun owners. We are now accelerating the date based upon a thoroughly researched interpretation and letting everyone know when this law should be enforced. That date is May 24th. Citizens should not worry about the potential gap in dates of interpretation because this is how my office will enforce the law. We will make that clear to all the county offices.”
As West Virginia’s chief law enforcement officer and top attorney, Attorney General Morrisey’s support of law-abiding gun owners was crucial to securing ultimate passage of permitless/constitutional carry. His efforts to ensure that law-abiding gun owners are adequately informed on the law should, once again, be applauded. Please contact Attorney General Morrisey at 304-558-2021 and thank him for supporting your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.