West Virginia Becomes Eighth State to Allow Open Carry For All

For those in search of the Wild West, you won’t have to go further than West Virginia after a new law takes effect allowing anyone over 18, regardless of permit or training, to carry a firearm. 

The state legislature recently overrode a veto by the governor against the best wishes of the state’s public safety officials. 

“West Virginia’s law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe and helping us in times of need,” Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement Saturday following the announcement of the override. “It’s disheartening that the members of the Legislature have chosen not to stand with these brave men and women – putting their safety and the safety of West Virginians at risk.”

The National Rifle Association had supported the bill, which does away with the permit and training program for people over 21-years-old and opens the door for those as young as 18 to carry a gun without  a permit.

“Self-defense is a fundamental right that must be respected,” Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA said in the group’s on-line magazine. “Law-abiding West Virginians are now free to choose the method of self-defense that best suits their needs. The NRA and our five million members are pleased that the legislature voted in support of West Virginians’ Second Amendment freedoms.”

In overriding the governor’s veto, West Virginia joins seven other states allow complete freedom to carry firearms. Whether this measure will limit the number of people killed with firearms in the state will yet to be seen. West Virginia is currently ranked 13th in gun deaths,  according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 

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