(RepublicanNews.org) – If West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signs the bill, concealed-carry permit holders will be able to carry their guns on the campuses of state universities.
The state’s House of Delegates passed the ‘campus carry’ bill 84-13 on February 21st.
The bill’s passage was quickly lauded by the National Rifle Association (NRA). NRA state chapter director Art Thom said it made no sense to bar adults who are considered competent enough to fight in a war from carrying their legal firearms for protection on college campuses.
Some students, however, did not react so positively. E.T. Bowen of Marshall University said his classmates were “terrified on campus as it is,” and that the bill was like throwing an accelerant on a fire.
Appealing to recent shootings on college campuses as gun opponents usually do, Bowen said it was “appalling” to put forward such a bill while “there’s still blood on the ground.”
If signed by the governor, West Virginia’s law will make it the 12th US state with a campus carry law. Other such states include Arkansas, Georgia, and Kansas.
Currently, before the West Virginia law is signed, the state is one of 20 that have no laws preventing concealed carry on campus. This new law would make the right explicit, rather than simply implied because on-campus carry is not illegal.
Republican Delegate (West Virginia uses ‘delegate’ to refer to members of its house as distinct from its senate) Mike Honaker was among the prominent supporters of the bill. Honaker responded to the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting when he was a state police officer in Virginia.
He said that he knows this is a sensitive issue, but that his eyewitness experience has formed his opinion. After seeing the carnage wrought by a gunman on campus, Honaker said he could not imagine barring a “free law-abiding American” from carrying a gun to protect themself and to defend others.
Proponents point out that criminals ignore gun laws, and such laws only endanger innocent people by depriving them of self-defense.
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