A bill that would permit citizens to carry concealed weapons without state permits survived a veto by Gov. Earl Tomblin March 4th with a 64-33 override vote by the West Virginia legislature.
“But it’s not just a danger to law enforcement, all of the public is equally as in danger. I dread the opportunity that people will be carrying a gun to every football game, to the malls on Friday night, to their favorite restaurants,” said Sheriff Steve Tanner, President of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, in an interview with www.wowktv.com.
In February The West Virginia Senate introduced bill 4145 that would allow concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry permit. This measure, which could open the door to students carrying concealed weapons on campuses has drawn the attention of Shepherd University faculty.
As word started spreading around campus between faculty and staff about the new bill a certain amount of confusion came with it. Many students assumed that with no law being required to apply for a permit that once they turned 21 they would freely carry a firearm around campus. Too the displeasure of some students that was not true.
“I would carry a gun around because school shootings, although not likely to happen at any one particular school, if it happened at Shepherd I would want a gun on my hip to defend myself and others. If the shooter was in the same building as me I wouldn’t want to have to run out to my car and get my gun, I’d want it on my hip,” said sophomore Noah Harmon.
In an email to faculty several members voiced their concern over the bill and whether guns would be allowed on campus and in their classrooms. After several comments on how the bill was interpreted, a clarification by the University’s attorney noted that each school has the ability to make their own policy on concealed carry on campus, which is Shepherds case was prohibiting all weapons on school grounds.
In conversations with different faculty around campus they all had the same reaction to the bill, “ we don’t want guns in our classrooms and want to keep Shepherds gun laws the same “.
Recreation department professor Matt Miller elaborated more on the subject saying “It would be a constant concern and on my mind at all times if I was sitting in a classroom with several college students who had loaded weapons.”