UPDATE (12:48 p.m. 3/5/16):
West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole (R) released a state Saturday about the Senate voting to overturn Gov. Tomblin’s veto of the permitless gun carry bill:
“The Senate today, in a broad bipartisan vote, defended the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding West Virginia citizens by overriding Governor Tomblin’s veto of House Bill 4145.
”This bill allows West Virginians to protect themselves without the government’s permission. It has been improved from the bill vetoed last year by creating three new criminal offenses. The new felony offenses come with tough penalties for using a concealed deadly weapon during the commission of a crime, and for carrying a concealed firearm if you are not legally permitted to do so. We are also creating an incentive for training courses, which I believe will go a long way to encourage people to be properly trained on the safe use of their weapons.
”I am proud of this version, and I am pleased that today we were able to stand up for the constitutional rights our citizens hold so dear.’’
UPDATE (10:39 a.m. 3/5/16):
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued a statement shortly after the Senate vote on overriding his permitless gun carry bill Saturday morning:
“West Virginia‘s law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe and helping us in times of need, and it’s disheartening that the members of the Legislature have chosen not to stand with these brave men and women – putting their safety and the safety of West Virginians at risk. It’s unfortunate that the concerns of officers from every law enforcement branch in the state, including the West Virginia State Police and university campus police officers, have been ignored by today’s action.’’
UPDATE (10:20 a.m. 3/5/16):
The West Virginia Senate on Saturday morning overturned Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of the permitless concealed carry bill.
House bill 4145 now becomes law.
The Senate approved the veto by a 23-11 vote.
UPDATE (11:30 a.m. 3/4/16):
The West Virginia House of Delegates overturned Gov. Tomblin’s veto of the concealed carry bill by a vote of 64-33.
One of the most controversial bills passed by the house and senate this legislative session was vetoed by Gov. Tomblin on March 3, 2016. It would allow people to carry hidden guns without permits or training.
“Our law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe, and helping us in times of need,” said Gov. Tomblin before signing the veto. “Now it’s time for us to return the favor and veto House Bill 4145 for the safety of our law enforcement officers and all West Virginians.”
Surrounded by representatives from every law enforcement branch in West Virginia, he signed the veto to House Bill 4145 saying passing it would put law enforcement in even more danger.
“But its not just a danger to law enforcement, all of the public is equally as in danger. I dread the opportunity that people will be carrying a gun to every football game, to the malls on Friday night, to their favorite restaurants,” said Sheriff Steve Tanner, President of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association.
But supporters of the concealed weapon bill think it would actually send a warning to criminals.
“It’s also to let the criminal know that West Virginians have a gun and have the right to carry it and it would deter crime that goes on in this state,” said Del. Ron Walter, (R) Kanawha.
The bill would require those 18 to 20 years old to get a permit and go through training with live firing. But the fact that no training would be needed for those 21 and older is a big concern for law enforcement.
“Law enforcement goes through hundreds of hours of training to carry their firearms and be responsible,” said Sheriff Tanner. “How can we expect the public to have no training and be just as safe.”
Del. Saira Blair, (R) Berkeley, is the lead sponsor of the bill thinks many West Virginians have been trained throughout their lives.
“I believe that training is important, I do, and I think that a lot of people seek it but training doesn’t necessarily have to be in the classroom for four hours long, growing up on a farm and having experience for 15 years is training,” she said.
Law enforcement and others who joined Governor Tomblin do expect the legislature to override the veto. An override could happen as soon as March 4, 2016. It passed the senate 24 to 9 and the house 68 to 31