Current concealed weapon law offers protections

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — West Virginia lawmakers are moving toward taking a step back in public safety, and the reason for doing so isn’t all that clear other than to further gain favor of the gun lobby.

Senate Bill 347, which is moving through the state Senate, would eliminate the state’s current requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Two of the likely consequences of that is a reduction in the number of people who undergo gun safety training and a drop in the number of people whose backgrounds are checked to determine whether they should be carrying a concealed weapon.

Currently, state law requires that people 21 or older who want to carry a concealed handgun must apply for a permit with the sheriff in the county where they reside. The sheriff will conduct a background check to determine whether the individual’s history would disqualify him or her from having a permit. The background check looks for evidence of alcohol or drug addiction, convictions for driving under the influence, any felony convictions, domestic violence convictions, current indictments, mental incompetence or any prohibitions for carrying a weapon under federal law.

To obtain a permit, individuals also must complete a training course in handling and firing a handgun.

Senate Bill 347 would still allow people to apply for concealed carry permits, but they would no longer be required to…


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