Friday, March 20, 2015

Earl Ray Says No To Constitutional Carry In The Mountaineer State

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D-WV) vetoed SB 347 this morning it was in the interest of public safety. SB 347 which passed both houses of the West Virginia legislature by overwhelming majorities. The bill would have made the state the fifth to adopt constitutional carry. While open carry is legal without a permit, concealed carry permits require mandated training and cost $105.

From Tomblin's press release:
“Throughout my career, I have strongly supported the Second Amendment, as demonstrated by my repeated endorsements and high grades from the National Rifle Association. However, I must also be responsive to the apprehension of law enforcement officers from across the state, who have concerns about the bill as it relates to the safety of their fellow officers. It also would eliminate the required gun safety training courses for those applying for a concealed carry permit. In light of these concerns and in the interest of public safety for all West Virginians, I have vetoed Senate Bill 347.”
Another politician who had received high grades from the NRA at one time, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), was already under fire for his opposition to SB 347 in which he said West Virginians believed in "gunsense". That is one of the code words popular with Shannon Watts and the Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors. The Firearms Policy Coalition said that Manchin who claims to be a Life member of the NRA needs to be booted from the organization. As Sebastian noted today, he's not sure West Virginians much care for Manchin and we'll find out for sure in 2018.

The West Virginia Citizen's Defense League hasn't not commented publicly on the veto yet and are still considering their options. However, their Facebook page has a very active comment thread on it. It appears that a veto override will require a special session of the legislature.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle are indicating that they will vote in favor of the bill when it comes up again.
Del. Rupie Phillips (D-Logan, 24) supported the legislation in the House of Delegates and promised to do so again.

“We spent a lot of time on this issue and I hate that we’re going to have to spend time again on it at the beginning of next year’s session,” Phillips said.
Meanwhile, Del. Mike Folk (R-Berkeley, 63) has said the bill will come up again in the next session. He also dismissed the supposed concern that it would put law enforcement at risk.
He dismissed claims that it would have put law enforcement officers at risk. “They assume (already) that every person is armed, so the safety issue is not a good argument,” Folk said.

He is promising to bring the proposal up again during next year’s Regular Legislative Session.

“We’ll do it again next year and we’ll make sure we do it early enough that he can veto it next year and the same thing that happened with the pain capable bill will happen with this bill,” Folk said, referencing this year’s legislative override of Gov. Tomblin’s veto of the bill that would have banned abortions in West Virginia after 20 weeks.
Given the overwhelming majorities in favor of the bill, 71-29 in the House and 30-4 in the Senate, I think it is a safe bet that when it comes up again, it will pass.


  1. Is there no provision in WV for the legislature to override a gubernatorial veto? Because it sounds like they have the numbers to do it.

  2. Dems doing what they do best... sigh

  3. Dems doing what they do best... sigh

  4. Archer,

    From John's article I get the impression that the legislative session is over so barring a special session it is too late for the legislature to take action. I know in Washington only the governor can call a special session so unless there are other things that need to be dealt with it is probably dead for the year.

    Another thing is that although I don't know much about WV politics, even though a legislator voted for it the first time, they are sometimes reluctant to embarrass a governor from their own party and don't vote for the veto override. From what I have seen, you often lose votes on a bipartisan bill when you are going for an override (I have no actual statistics on this).

    1. Thanks, that makes more sense.

      Yeah, I've seen that behavior, too. A widely-supported bill will suddenly lose a significant amount of support when trying to override a veto. I don't have statistics on it, either, but from what I've seen it happens relatively often - "relatively", given that most bills, vetoed or not, barely pass the first time, and so trying for an override is uncommon to begin with.