CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A bill to allow concealed carry on the grounds of the state capitol complex was introduced Wednesday in the West Virginia Senate.
“If you are a law-abiding citizen and you are legally allowed to own a gun, you should be able to carry it on public property…such as the capital,” said Senator Rupie Phillips, (R) District 7.
In the Mountain State citizens 21 years or older do not need a license to carry a concealed weapon. But there are limitations to that, which some lawmakers say should be upheld.
“No way that I would support having guns on campus, especially from someone who has to wear body armor,” said Delegate Danielle Walker, (D) District 51.
Capitol grounds are public property and the area surrounding the Capitol has 24/7 surveillance by its own unit of the police.
“I appreciate the law enforcement officers we have on these grounds and I think it is disrespectful and a disgrace for this to even be entered into legislation,” said Delegate Walker.
This bill introduced is similar to another controversial bill, allowing concealed carry on college campuses.
Many who support concealed weapons on capitol grounds also support them on college campuses for safety reasons.
“If they know how to use a gun, they should have a gun in classrooms. So yes, I support campus carry and support capitol carry,” said Senator Phillips.
However, from the student’s perspective, some are worried weapons in the classroom may hinder their learning.
“We’re in a classroom possibly talking about a controversial topic, I may feel less inclined to voice my opinion if I know that there is someone in the classroom that has a weapon,” said Shelby Johnson, a grad student at West Virginia University.