CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For a second straight year, West Virginia lawmakers have taken up a bill to allow people to carry concealed handguns without obtaining permits.
House Judiciary Committee members took up the bill (HB 4145) Wednesday morning, shortly after an early public hearing where proponents called the current $100 fee for five-year conceal-carry permits an unreasonable tax on their right to bear arms, while others said allowing people to carry guns without training or background checks endangers police and public safety.
“What this bill amounts to is elimination of a tax on a fundamental right to self defense,” National Rifle Association lobbyist Dakota Moore told the committee members. “This is about money, quite simply. The sheriffs hate to relinquish the fees they accept in exchange for you to exercise your fundamental right of self-defense.”
Keith Morgan, president of the West Virginia Citizens Defense League, concurred, saying, “This bill is about sheriffs taking our rights from us and selling them back to us.”
Harrison County Sheriff Albert Marano stressed public-safety concerns…