BREAKING: West Virginia legislature passes campus carry
The bill establishes 'conditions under which persons with a current and valid license to carry a concealed deadly weapon may carry a concealed pistol or revolver at a state institution of higher education.'
49% of WVU students support the measure.
Campus carry, which will allow individuals with valid concealed carry licenses to possess a pistol or revolver on public college and university campuses, has been passed by the West Virginia legislature.
Senate Bill 10 (SB10) passed its final vote on Tuesday and is headed to Governor Jim Justice’s office this week.
“It is the intent of the Legislature,” reads SB10, “to establish, by this act, conditions under which persons with a current and valid license to carry a concealed deadly weapon may carry a concealed pistol or revolver at a state institution of higher education.”
The law stipulates that institutions must provide at least one “secure location for the storage of a pistol or revolver” in an on-campus residence hall and prohibits schools from restricting firearms in public spaces.
Exceptions include school stadiums, daycare facilities, and student and faculty disciplinary hearings.
Higher education administrators in West Virginia have been cooperating with the Legislature to find a middle ground.
West Virginia University (WVU) President E. Gordon Gee co-wrote a letter to the Legislature with Marshall University President Brad D. Smith arguing that the decision should be up to university governments rather than politicians in Charleston.
Despite advocating for local control, the two presidents expressed that they “will continue to work with [their] legislators to create environments that are safe for [their] campus communities.”
Student reactions to the prospect of campus carry is mixed.
At a majority liberal campus, 49% of WVU students support the measure, as Campus Reform previously reported.
A female student at Fairmont University told Mountain State Spotlight that “Changing gun laws isn’t going to stop a criminal from bringing the weapon [on campus]….If I have something that could protect myself or others, then I’m going to do it,” she argued.
A well-known hunting state, the slogan of which is “Wild and Wonderful,” West Virginia ranks fifth in the nation for gun ownership with 58.5% of its population registered.
Campus Reform has contacted the West Virginia Department of Education and Justice’s Office with requests for comment as well as students at WVU, Concord University, and Bluefield State University. This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.
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