With the overturning of the Democratic Governor’s veto of a measure to allow permitless carry of firearms by law-abiding citizens in West Virginia this week, similar bills in at least two additional states are showing momentum during their respective 2016 legislative sessions.
In a bipartisan effort, the West Virginia House voted 64-33 to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto the day after it occurred, and the Senate followed suit on Saturday, March 5 by a vote of 23-11.
As a result, beginning June 5, anyone over age 21 who can legally possess a firearm will be allowed to carry it concealed on their person without a permit. West Virginia has long allowed permitless open carry, and now will become the eighth state to implement what is commonly referred to as “constitutional carry.”
“Any United States citizen or legal resident thereof at least twenty-one years of age and not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm may carry a concealed deadly weapon without a license,” the bill reads.
The law also creates a provisional permitting process for those between 18 and 20 to carry a concealed firearm within the state – an age group that had previously been excluded from the permitting process altogether.
“Self-defense is a fundamental right that must be respected,” said Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). “Law-abiding West Virginians are now free to choose the method of self-defense that best suits their needs. The NRA and our five million members are pleased that the legislature voted in support of West Virginians’ Second Amendment freedoms.”
Similar bills are moving forward in at least two other states.
On March 7, Missouri House Bill 1468 received a “Do Pass” vote from the House Committee on Emerging Issues. The bill will now go to the House Select Committee on General Laws for further consideration. Sponsored by state Representative Eric Burlison (R-133), the measure would allow permitless carry in the Show Me State and permit all law-abiding individuals to carry a concealed firearm anywhere not expressly prohibited by law.
In Idaho, SB 1389 would recognize the right of law-abiding Idaho residents 21 years of age or older to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense within city limits without a permit.