The Legislature of West Virginia voted to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of a bill that would allow anyone over the age of 21 to carry concealed handguns without permit.
The law, which will go into effect in 90 days, will also do away with required training programs. It's supported by the National Rifle Association but opposed by law enforcement agencies across the state.
“West Virginia’s law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe and helping us in times of need, and 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,” Tomblin (D) said in a statement Saturday.
The governor’s plea, however, fell on deaf years, with lawmakers suggesting the proposal protects the Second Amendment rights of West Virginians.
Among the citizens excluded from the new rule are those with substance abuse problems, multiple drunk-driving infractions and other serious criminal records.
Yet not all people who suffer from substance abuse have been charged for their crimes. Additionally, people with mental health issues might not display any outward signs of their illness, just as domestic abuser don't always have criminal records. But a gun in the wrong hands can easily be an invitation for another Sandy Hooks incident.
The recent shooting in Kalamazoo by a white Uber driver, who had no history of violence and who has been deemed sane, is testament to the fact that these shoddy background checks are no safeguard against gun violence.
Since the Sandy Hook massacre, sales of guns have skyrocketed instead of going down. In 2013 alone, the gun lobby grossed almost $348 million in revenue, as concerned people arm themselves for personal protections.
Yet no studies have shown that an armed public can reduce loss of life. Additionally, if everyone is armed, it can be very difficult for law enforcement officers to determine the perpetrators and the innocent.