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Campus carry passes State Senate

Lead sponsor of Senate Bill 10, Rupie Phillips ( R | Logan ) says guns are already on campus and the bill just sets parameters for everyone.

AM Stone | WVOW News

CHARLESTON A State Senate bill allowing the conceal carry of firearms on Mountain State college campuses passed overwhelmingly Tuesday.

Senate Bill 10, the Campus Self Defense Act, passed on a vote 29-4 and one absent. Students and staff may carry firearms discreetly on state campuses with a permit, if the bill is granted passage into law. And passage is more likely now with a vote of 29-4 with one absent in the Senate Tuesday and the House passed a similar bill in 2019. The Republican super majority in both chambers has grown over the last two election cycles.

West Virginia is a constitutional carry state, meaning law abiding citizens do not need a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The bill only allows for permitted concealed carry and the open carry of a firearm is not permitted.

Marshall and West Virginia University Presidents oppose the bill. Concord, Shepherd and West Virginia State universities also voiced opposition to the campus carry bill. A letter from Marshall’s Brad Smith and WVU’s Gordon Gee cited mental health challenges, grade discussion, college recruitment and “the protection of open and honest debate of ideas" for their opposition.

The bill contains twelve exceptions, many suggested in the letter to the senate drafted by Gee and Smith. Exception include campus daycares, patient-care areas and functions on campus sponsored by a K-12 school. Firearms will not be permitted legally in those instances.

Other exceptions include residence halls where concealed firearms are only permitted in common areas. Weapons would remain prohibited at events with more than a thousand spectators.

The bill doesn’t take effect until July first next year and now moves to the House for consideration.



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