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Senate panel OKs bill to remove need for gun permit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Concealed weapons permits would no longer be necessary for persons wanting to carry concealed firearms, under legislation advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday (SB347).

“The vote you’re about to take is a vote for your Second Amendment rights,” Sen. Kent Leonhardt, R-Monongalia, told the committee prior to the voice vote to advance the bill to the full Senate, closing out nearly two hours of discussion on the legislation.

That included comments from representatives of law enforcement, who said the bill could be harmful, and from the perspective of county sheriff’s departments, costly.

“We’re fixing something that’s not broken,” Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady told the committee. “There’s not been one person in my county who’s come to me and said, “I don’t like the concealed weapon permit law the way it is.”

Brady said he has concerns about untrained, immature teenagers carrying concealed weapons with the repeal of the concealed weapons permit mandate, which requires completion of a gun safety course and has a minimum age requirement of 21.

Committee members rejected an amendment by Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, to retain the handgun safety training requirement, which he said would be “prudent and common sense.”

“I’m for this bill, but I’d sure be a lot more for it if we had some basic handgun training…

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