West Virginia lawmakers voted Tuesday to allow concealed carry holders to carry firearms on the campuses of state colleges and universities, according to the West Virginia Legislature.
Senate Bill 10, backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), passed through the West Virginia House of Delegates 84 to 13, and will be sent to Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to be signed. If signed, the bill, known as the Campus Self Defense Act, will override the authority of the Higher Education Policy Commission, the Council for Community and Technical College Education and the institutional boards of governors to restrict concealed carry holders from possessing firearms on campus, according to the legislation.
“The National Rifle Association applauds the West Virginia Legislature’s passage of NRA-backed campus carry,” NRA West Virginia State Director Art Thomm told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “There is no reason why any adult who is deemed mature enough to defend his or her country at war should not be entrusted to defend themselves and others on campus. And there is no reason an adult who is allowed to carry in other parts of the state can’t be trusted when on campus.”
If signed, West Virginia will become the 12th state to allow concealed carry holders to carry firearms on campuses, according to Fox News. The bill was supported by Republican Delegate Mike Honaker who previously served as a Virginia State Police officer and responded to the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting.
“I know we have to be careful about this issue,” Honker said last week while the bill was still in the House. “But there’s no way that I, as someone who has lived through this and seen it with my own eyes, could forbid another free law-abiding American citizen from carrying a firearm and retaining the ability and the capacity to defend yourself or others, God forbid they ever be put in a position to do it.”
Those who opposed the bill, including many college students in West Virginia, attended a town hall last week to protest the bill, according to Fox News.
One student, E.T. Bowen, said that students are “terrified on campus as it is,” according to Fox News. “We don’t need more guns to exacerbate that. This bill is like throwing kerosene on the wildfire, and it is appalling that we even need to say that while there’s still blood on the ground at Michigan State.”
The law’s passing follows the Michigan State University shooting in February, where three people were killed and five were injured by 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae. McRae had previously been arrested for a felony gun charge, but the charges were later dropped by a left-wing district attorney.
The 43-year-old shooter would have been barred from owning a gun if he had been sentenced for carrying a concealed weapon without a license.
Justice did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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