Opinion, WVPA Sharing

Editorial: Special session of the legislature isn’t warranted

The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington:

Some West Virginia lawmakers are pushing for a special session of the legislature, presumably to allow an override of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of one controversial bill and perhaps for other reasons that aren’t so evident.

The necessity for a special session hardly seems clear; there seems to be no pressing issues that need urgent attention. The legislature concluded its regular legislative session a week ago today, and some measures put forth by the new Republican majorities in both the Senate and the House didn’t make it through. They apparently want to go into overtime and keep trying.

The main stated impetus for a special session is to allow lawmakers an opportunity to override Tomblin’s veto of Senate Bill 347, which would eliminate the requirement for a person 21 or older to get a permit – and go through required safety training and a background check – in order to carry a concealed gun. Tomblin, citing safety concerns, vetoed the bill on Friday.

According to the state Constitution, three-fifths of the members of each chamber of the Legislature can write to the governor to compel him to call a special session. There seems to be adequate support in the House of Delegates to do just that, however support in the Senate is another question. If a session is called, there’s no limit to what the lawmakers can try to tackle.

The need for eliminating the concealed carry requirement has never been clear, other than to give lawmakers a chance to demonstrate their pro-gun bona fides to gun-rights lobbyists. Otherwise, it is a step backward in regards to safety. Tomblin has noted that law enforcement representatives are opposed to the legislation and that much of the support he’s hearing for the bill comes from outside West Virginia.

If the gun bill was such a priority, lawmakers should have moved it through the regular 60-day session more quickly so that a veto could have been overridden during the regular session. They can try again next year.


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