ICYMI: Constitutional Carry Went Into Effect In West Virginia

Matt Vespa
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Posted: May 31, 2016 9:05 PM
ICYMI: Constitutional Carry Went Into Effect In West Virginia

Well, it’s happened. West Virginia became the eighth state to adopt constitutional carry. One in ten residents already have a concealed carry permit, and the new measures signal another victory for Second Amendment rights. Democratic Gov. Early Ray Tomblin vetoed the measure back in March, but the state legislature—with bipartisan support—overrode it. Yet, while permitless carry is now law, it also stiffens penalties for those who violate current gun statutes, like those that were mentally adjudicated, guilty of domestic abuse, and convicted felons—all of which are barred from owning firearms (via Herald-Dispatch)

More than 1 in 10 West Virginia adults has a permit to carry a concealed handgun, and the number of Mountain State residents carrying weapons is likely to increase with the new law that took effect this week.

As of May 24, a new permitless carry law allows West Virginians to carry firearms freely without going through a safety course or having to obtain permits, so long as they meet certain requirements.

House Bill 4145, which was passed in March after originally being vetoed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, also enhances policies for those less than 21 years of age, criminals, defendants in domestic violence cases and anyone with mental impairments.

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More than 156,600 West Virginians had permits to carry concealed weapons as of six weeks ago, according to a registry kept by West Virginia State Police. That is about 11 percent of the state's over-18 population.

The trend is another sign that Americans are feeling more comfortable about owning guns. According to a Gallup survey published in 2014, more than six in 10 Americans believed guns make homes safer, almost flipping from public perception in 2000. In 2000, 35 percent said guns made homes safer, while 51 percent said it made a home less safe.

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While permits are still available, the only people required to obtain permits are 18- to 21-year-olds. The law also establishes a requirement for gun safety training participants to fire at least one live round of ammunition during gun safety training courses.

A $25 permit fee was set for 18- to 21-year-old residents. Anyone in that group found concealing a weapon without a permit will face a misdemeanor conviction with up to $1,000 in fines. Second offense is a felony with a one- to five-year sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.

Cheers, West Virginia.