CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — In West Virginia, you can carry a concealed weapon without a permit, but there are some exceptions like college campuses. Now, an effort has resurfaced to eliminate that exemption.
The bill to allow conceal carry on state university campuses was introduced Friday in the West Virginia Senate.
“It’s taxpayer money – and I feel like we should be allowed our second amendment freedoms,” said Senator Mark Maynard, (R) 6th District.
This bill would not affect privately owned universities or sports facilities at state universities. But Senator Maynard says it will play a helpful role in the safety of students.
“We have students that have to walk quite a ways to get to campus and they need protection or feel like they do. And once they get on campus they even feel that way,” said Senator Maynard.
The issue has sparked controversy when proposed in other states, mostly from students but from lawmakers as well.
“I’m not an anti-gun guy, I own guns and believe in the second amendment. But I think there are limitations sometimes and this should be one of them,” said Senator Mike Caputo, (D) 13th District.
Especially in a college environment.
“They like to party and that’s okay we were all young once – I’m all for that. But sometimes alcohol and firearms don’t mix,” said Senator Caputo.
A similar bill to this was tried in 2019. The House of Delegates passed it, but by a narrow vote in the Senate, it was turned down.
The original bill in 2019 also sparked protest across West Virginia state universities, including Marshall University.
“Consistently we’ve opposed to this legislation and those of its type in the past for simple reasons that the environment of a college campus does not lend itself to responsible conceal carry,” said Anna Williams, Marshall University Student Body President.
This bill was introduced to the senate and does not have a hearing date set.