CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A loud round of applause rang out in the House of Delegates Chamber Monday afternoon after House members gave unanimous approval to a bill that would allow guns to be in locked vehicles on the grounds of the state capitol complex.

Del. Gary Howell, R-Mineral, said that’s currently illegal but not that many people realize it.

“We have a lot of people that come down to visit us at the capitol and have conceal carry (gun permits), park in the parking lot and don’t know that’s illegal,” Howell said. “This corrects that problem.”

Del. Justin Marcum, D-Mingo, said the bill only allows the guns if there’s a legal conceal carry permit.

“This bill would allow a person who is lawfully carrying a gun in their vehicle to leave the gun locked in their car while on the state capitol complex,” Marcum said.

The bill would also impact state lawmakers who have conceal carry permits. Del. Danny Wells, D-Kanawha, pointed out there are parking spaces very close to the governor’s mansion.

“There will be about 20 spaces in front of the mansion, about a few feet from the mansion door, where you’ll be able to carry a concealed weapon in a car with a permit,” Wells said.

The bill passed 96-0 and was forwarded to the state Senate.


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  • Jerry

    The sad part is that this bill only gives back a fraction of our constitutional right that has been little by little taken away from us by deception and fear mongoring ! As a whole people are waking up to the fact that in nearly all deadly cercumstances they themselves are their only first line of defence and therefore personal carry has grown at ever faster rates . This leaves more people than ever with weapons in their possession while conducting buisness !

  • C. F. T.

    Wells, you need to go back to the school of Loberal Speak, it appears you opposed the Bill, claiming the Gov. Manchin is within range?.

    • Jason412

      As the bill passed 96-0 I don't think anyone opposed it.

  • Brian

    This is a good bill. But I wonder what if any effect it will have on state offices outside of Charleston. IMO I would challenge anyone, including law enforcement, to force open my vehicle to search at random for a firearm inside a vehicle parked on state property. Without due cause or process such a search is boloney and the responsible parties can go ahead and break out the checkbook to settle my lawsuit.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      That's an easy challenge to make from behind a keyboard. Don't allow testosterone to override your better judgement. The regional jails and court dockets are filled with people who claimed to know what constituted reasonable search and seizure. If law a enforcement official were to ask me to unlock my vehicle, I would cooperate and respond "Yes, sir" and I unlock my vehicle. You'd be wiser and your wallet thicker if you would do the same thing.

      • Mark

        The correct answer and the LEGAL answer to being ASKED to let them search your vehicle is you do not consent to it. If they continue to push the issue and order you to unlock your vehicle, you tell them that you will comply, but object to it and doing so does not mean you are giving consent to search.

        Basically, if they want to search your vehicle they are going to. But once you give them your consent, all bets are off and anything they find is admissible. If you do not consent, you have a chance at getting whatever they found thrown out if they did not have probable cause.

        Saying "Yes, sir!" is a fools answer and you are setting yourself up for a fishing expedition. But, that is your choice to not utilize your rights.

        • Brian

          Mark - you hit the mark with interpreting my comment. Bottom line, so long as I knew that there was a legal search being conducted, I'd comply most happily. If I doubted the validity of such a search, I would not consent.

        • Mason County Contrarian

          I was raised by my parents to respect law enforcement and anyone else. I have passed that same raising to my own children. If being polite is a "fool's answer", then I'm guilty of not only being a fool but also of civility.

          • Mark

            My point was, you can be civil and respectful without exposing yourself to undue risk.

            Telling a police officer you expect them to abide by the law and obtain a warrant and afford you the protection your are granted under the law is not rude or disrespectful as long as you do it in a manner other than saying "Stuff it pig!" or something similar.

            The attitude of respecting police means letting them do whatever they wish and doing everything you are asked is part of the problem we have now. They get upset when someone tells them that they may not search their car without a warrant because it is seen as defiant even if that is what the law says. Just like if one comes to my door for any reason. I will gladly step outside and speak with them, but until they follow the proper legal processes they will not be coming inside. The whole "do you mind if we come in and look around" is a tactic to get you to surrender your 4th amendment rights. If they had probable cause, they wouldn't have to ask you for permission.

            A search warrant does 2 things. 1) It protects you and the officer from a confrontation about if the search is warranted or not. That is decided when the warrant is issued. 2) It makes them specify what they are looking for. This means if they suspect you of having drugs, then all they can look for is drugs, nothing else. There are so many laws on the books that if they are given the freedom to just search for anything they WILL find something to hang on you. Everyone does something illegal, no matter how petty or silly it is.

            Standing up for your rights should not be seen as "bad" or disrespectful. Not standing up for them is how they get eroded.

  • Independent View

    Charleston Resident--- I have the facts! However, you probably do not want to be confused with facts, but I respect your opinion.
    Your comment does beg this question: have you ever seen a photograph or TV coverage of someone selling guns out of the trunk of a car on the streets of Charleston? Has Danny Jones ever produced one? NO!
    You haven't seen one because none exists. As soon as I win the Powerball I plan to post a million dollar reward to anyone that can produce such a documented and non-photoshopped photograph. Until I win the Powerball, the reward is a dollar.

  • Pickle Barrel

    Good idea, given the surrounding neighborhood.

  • Independent View

    Finally, cooler heads and common sense prevailed! Second Amendment rights are JUST AS IMPORTANT as First Amendment Rights.
    Danny Jones and his ilk and the Editor of the Charleston Gazette are probably reaching for their extra large bottle of Rolaids because passage of this bill is sure to give them both heartburn.
    In today's Charleston Daily Mail, the old and much-retreaded story about Detroit drug dealers coming to Charleston selling their drugs and then, using the money to buy guns sold out of the trunks of cars along Charleston's streets. If the Charleston Newspapers or Danny Jones and some members of Charleston City Council are going to use an argument against Second Amendment Rights in Charleston, at least have the courteousy to use factual information. Time and time again Mayor Jones has been asked, with the 100+ surveillance cameras that he has had installed throughout the high-crime areas of Charleston, to produce one image from those surveillance cameras or a police stakeout photo of someone selling guns out of a trunk of a car in Charleston--just one photograph! Not one has ever been produced as evidence. So, if you are going to make claims to bolster your argument then, make them plausible and avoid ridiculous and unfounded statements.

    • CharlestonResident

      I would believe the Mayor before I would believe a poster on here with no facts of their own.

    • DeputyDawg

      ..until some deranged lunatic with a gun permit (and there are many) shoots and kills one of these same House members on the Capitol grounds.

      • Wowbagger

        "..until some deranged lunatic with a gun permit (and there are many)"

        And your proof for this irresponsible statement is?

        • Mason County Contrarian

          I don't know if that is an "irresponsible" statement. We don't foresee a lot of things happening--just ask any victim of any crime, accident, tragedy, etc. If we could, we would avoid them.

          Who knows what happening in the next minute? All DeputyDawg is saying is that whatever, whoever, or wherever will be one minute closer to doing it--and just because you have a permit doesn't guarantee good judgement or clear-headed thinking no more than standing in a garage makes you a car. I have turned and headed the other direction knowing who may be out ahead of me during deer season, let alone a few people I know with conceal-carry.

          DeputyDawg gives every safe, responsible gun owner something to think about.

          • Mark

            Using that logic, we should just confine everyone to their homes because we can't predict what they will do.

            Historically speaking, those with no permit are FAR, FAR more likely to commit such an act than someone with a permit.

            The statements like "Until some crazed gun owner looses control" is just projection of their own doubts that they could exercise self control if they had a weapon.

  • Kevin

    Allowing citizens, INCLUDING STATE EMPLOYEES, to secure their legally owned and carried firearms in their cars while they visit their representatives and other state employees is sound policy. No longer will they rendered unable to defend themselves upon leaving the capitol grounds.

    The "inevitable shoot-em-ups" happen where citizens are required to be defenseless.

  • Parker

    Thanks for not putting up the perimeter fence so we state workers and capitol visitors can escape when the inevitable shoot-em-up happens.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      I agree Parker. There are some who will never understand until that dog lies on their porch.

      • Mark

        Understand what? A scenario that is backed by nothing but fear? It simply doesn't happen. The "shoot-em-up" and "wild west" cries have been shouted every time something like this or concealed carry passes and they simply never happen. The type of folks that are intent on doing these things aren't going to be stopped by a sign or a law. When you set out to murder people in a public place, you aren't concerned about them tacking on a charge for having the weapon in a "gun free zone". End of story. The signs are purely symbolic and feel good. They are completely ineffective at preventing anything from happening. It's like putting a sign in your yard that it's illegal to rob you and expecting the criminals to pass your house over because of the sign.

        • Mason County Contrarian

          See what I mean, Parker?

          • Mark

            Ironclad argument you have there. I will assume that means you have nothing to back up your argument with.

    • Mark

      Yes, Parker, because all of the "gun free zones" have been so remarkably effective in preventing "shoot-em-ups", right?

      I mean, we are so fortunate that schools are gun free zone because that means nobody can get shot there, right?