Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today released a new bipartisan poll, available here, that finds 83 percent of likely voters in West Virginia – including 81 percent of gun owners – favor requiring permits to carry a concealed handgun in public in West Virginia. The poll also revealed that West Virginians are 50 percent less likely to vote for a candidate who supported a repeal of permitting requirements like SB 347. The bi-partisan poll by Momentum Analysis (D) and Chesapeake Bay Consulting (R) conducted 500 phone interviews with likely 2016 West Virginia voters from March 2-4, 2015.
SB 347, which is being heard during a public hearing today and awaits a vote in the House Judiciary Committee, would lower the bar for who can carry a hidden, loaded gun in West Virginia. Currently, several categories of people are prohibited from carrying in public under the state’s concealed carry permitting system, including:
- Anyone convicted of misdemeanor crimes of violence,
- Anyone with multiple convictions for driving under the influence, and
- Anyone 18-20 years old.
SB 347 would dismantle the current permitting system by allowing some of these individuals to carry a concealed handgun without any training or permitting. If SB 347 becomes law, West Virginia would join only four other states to abandon core public safety standards and allow people to carry hidden, loaded guns in public with no permit. SB 347 is also strongly opposed by law enforcement from across the state.
“West Virginia has a common-sense permit system to ensure that those who carry loaded, concealed handguns in public are law abiding gun owners,” said Kenova Mayor and Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition Member Ric Griffith. “It’s a law enforcement tool that almost every state in America uses. Allowing untrained people to carry hidden handguns in public places is irresponsible and reckless. As a mayor, my first responsibility is the safety of my constituents, and SB 347 will endanger the lives of West Virginia families.”
“As a mom, lawyer, and West Virginian, I know that SB 347 is dangerous for West Virginia and I urge our Delegates to vote NO on this legislation,” said Dee Price Childress, volunteer with the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “The current license requirements in West Virginia include things like undergoing basic training on how to handle and fire a gun, passing a criminal background check, and other reasonable safeguards. If a person wants to carry a loaded, concealed handgun in public they should be required to demonstrate they have a clean criminal record and have been trained to carry a gun safely.”
About Everytown for Gun Safety
Everytown is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with more than 2.5 million supporters and more than 40,000 donors including moms, mayors, survivors, and everyday Americans who are fighting for public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and help save lives. At the core of Everytown are Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots movement of American mothers founded the day after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Learn more at www.everytown.org and follow us @Everytown
About Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots movement of American mothers fighting for public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and protect people from gun violence. Moms Demand Action campaigns for new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our children and families. Since its inception after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Moms Demand Action has established a chapter in every state of the country and along with Mayors Against Illegal Guns is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with more than 2.5 million members and more than 40,000 donors. For more information or to get involved visit www.momsdemandaction.org. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MomsDemandAction or on Twitter at @MomsDemand