Permitless concealed carry now law; Tomblin says override disheartening

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Permits will no longer be required to carry a concealed weapon in West Virginia in 90 days following the completion of a legislative override vote Saturday morning.

The 23-11 vote by the state Senate, joined with a vote in the House of Delegates Friday, makes the permitless conceal carry bill law despite Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s earlier veto.

Senators repeated some of their earlier arguments before Saturday’s vote. Other senators said they’ve heard more from law enforcement in recent days.

“I can hear them (drug runners) up in Detroit, Michigan….I can possibly hear the cheers going up,” Sen. Mike Woelfel (D-Cabell) said.

But Sen. Craig Blair (R-Berkeley) said he heard a different sound.

“I can hear freedom knocking at the doors in West Virginia. That’s exactly what this does,” Blair said.

Gov. Tomblin quickly criticized the override vote with a prepared statement. Tomblin said he was disheartened by the action of the legislature and its decision not to stand with law enforcement.

“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,” Tomblin said.

The new law would largely eliminate the state’s permit and training requirements to carry a concealed weapon. The bill requires those between 18-21 to get the training and permit.

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