West Virginia Legislature Overrides Veto Allowing Permitless Concealed Carry

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For the second time since 2015, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed a proposal to allow people 21 and older to carry hidden guns without permits or training.

The West Virginia House voted 64-33 less than 24 hours after the governor’s decision to override the bill. It then went to the Senate, where in a 23-11 vote Saturday, the Senate voted to override the veto as well.

The law will go into effect in 90 days.

House Bill 4145 will get rid of the state’s current permit and training program for citizens carrying concealed weapons in West Virginia for anyone 21 and older. However, permits will still be required for those between 18-21.

According to the bill, it “establish[es] that criminal penalties for carrying a concealed deadly weapon without state license or other lawful authorization apply only to persons under twenty-one years of age and prohibited persons.”

Those excluded from the rule include those with diagnosed substance-abuse problems, multiple alcohol-related driving infractions, alcohol addiction, or serious criminal records.

Gov. Tomblin released this statement after his veto:

West Virginia’s law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe and helping us in times of need, and it’s disheartening that the members of the Legislature have chosen not to stand with these brave men and women – putting their safety and the safety of West Virginians at risk. 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.

What made this veto different than the previous one in 2015 is that the legislature had more time in order to override the governor’s decision. In West Virginia, it only takes a simple majority to override vetoes, thus making it easier with ample time.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) asked the legislature to reconsider swiftly following the governor’s decision.

It is already legal in West Virginia to carry a gun openly, like in a holster, without a permit. This bill will just make concealed weapon carry legal without a permit for citizens over 21.

Citizens ages 18-20 would need to participate in a training program involving live firing in order to get a permit.

There are a handful of other states that do not require permits.

According to The Washington Post, “Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Wyoming and Vermont don’t require a permit at all for concealed carry in public. Vermont has never had such a requirement; Alaska went permit-free in 2003; Arizona in 2010; Wyoming in 2011 (limited to residents); and Arkansas in 2013.”

Some of these programs do away with background checks, which are highly favored by Americans.

In a Quinnipiac poll released in 2014, it found that 92 percent of Americans surveyed favored background checks for all gun buyers. In 2013 the number was 89 percent.

Some senators who were not in support of the override in West Virginia, like Sen. Corey Palumbo, a Democrat representing Kanawha, weighed in on the decision to The Washington Times, saying: “it’s a slap in the governor’s face, but it’s a slap in the State Police’s face, sheriffs, municipal police officers and the vast majority of our constituents.”


Julia Bryant
Julia Bryant is an Editorial Senior Fellow at Law Street from Howard County, Maryland. She is a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Economics. You can contact Julia at



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