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Senate panel won’t take up concealed gun confidentiality

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Senate Judiciary Committee will not take up this session a bill that would make lists of people with conceal carry permits confidential, Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, said Thursday. The bill (HB4310) would also have made lists of applicants for those permits confidential.

“There’s some interest among members, but we’re not going to take it up,” Palumbo said following Thursday’s Senate floor session.

The bill passed the House of Delegates 92-4 Feb. 26, but had critics, including Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association, who argued the public has a right to know the names of those who have conceal carry permits.

“I think he took the public interest at heart in the decision,” Smith said of Palumbo’s decision not to put the bill on his committee’s agenda.

Currently, conceal carry permits are public record, and lists of new permit holders are published in state newspapers.

The bill would have made the permits, and permit applications confidential, and not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Smith said there are times when it is important to know whether a friend, neighbor or relative is permitted to carry a concealed firearm.

“We don’t think that bill addressed any real concern in West Virginia,” he added.

Smith said he applauded the decision of Palumbo and Senate Judiciary Committee members.

“I think it’s an act of courage on the part of Chairman Palumbo and the Judiciary Committee,” he said. “It’s a wise decision.”

Also Thursday, the Senate passed and sent to the governor a bill (HB4186) clarifying that officials must verify applicants for concealed weapons permits are not prohibited under state or federal law from possessing firearms.

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