Today, the House of Delegates voted 93-6 to pass Senate Bill 458. It now goes back to the Senate for concurrence. Yesterday, they voted 87-0 to concur with the Senate amendments to House Bill 2793. HB 2793 now goes to Governor Jim Justice’s desk for his signature.
Senate Bill 458 prohibits the state, government officials and agencies, or local governments, from restricting the lawful carrying, sale, or use of firearms and ammunition during states of emergency. The prohibition also prevents them from closing gun stores and shooting ranges, unless that restriction applies equally to all businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many anti-gun officials around the country, at both state and local levels of government, took the opportunity to unilaterally suspend Second Amendment rights by shutting down gun stores and ranges. This bill protects the exercise of a constitutional right from such politically motivated attacks and ensures that citizens have those rights when they need them most.
House Bill 2793 creates the option of a nonresident West Virginia concealed carry permit. Unlike most neighboring states, West Virginia does not have a nonresident carry permit option. Though visitors to West Virginia, who are legally eligible, may already carry a handgun without first applying for government permission, many still seek to obtain a permit to take advantage of reciprocity. West Virginia’s comprehensive reciprocity agreements would make its permit an attractive option, if it had a nonresident permit to offer.
NRA thanks all the lawmakers who gave their overwhelming support to these bills. Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates.