WV Senate bill would give prosecutors arrest powers, allow concealed carry

By RUSTY MARKS

The State Journal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the West Virginia Senate are expected to vote Friday, Feb. 17, on a bill that would give prosecuting attorneys and assistant prosecutors arrest powers and allow them to carry concealed weapons while in other states.

The bill, SB230, would give prosecutors and assistant prosecutors arrest powers equal to those of a county sheriff or deputy “in the county courthouse and other buildings where court proceedings are held and in which the prosecutor or assistant prosecutor is appearing before the court in a criminal matter and committed in the presence of the prosecuting attorney or assistant prosecuting attorney,” according to the text of the bill.

The bill also would permit prosecutors and assistant prosecutors to carry a concealed handgun “for self-defense” purposes in accordance with U.S. law.

However, the bill also would require county prosecutors first set up a written policy allowing prosecutors and assistant prosecutors to carry a concealed weapon, that those who are going to carry a concealed handgun be properly trained in the use of a firearm and that those carrying a concealed weapon must regularly qualify shooting the weapon to standards “which are equal to or exceed those required of sheriff’s deputies in the county in which the prosecuting attorney was elected or appointed,” the bill says.

The bill also would require prosecutors and assistant prosecutors to carry a photo ID and certification card. The ability to carry a concealed handgun would be revoked if a prosecutor or assistant prosecutor broke any firearms laws or other laws that would preclude them from carrying a gun.

Under provisions of the bill, a prosecutor or assistant prosecutor would be responsible for providing their own gun and ammunition.

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