Campus Carry Bill Passes W.V. Senate, Heads to House

Matthew Schaffer, News Editor

A bill that would allow concealed carry for handguns on college campuses passed the West Virginia State Senate on Tuesday, Jan. 24, after a similar bill was shot down in 2019.

  The bill will now head to the Republican supermajority in the state’s House of Delegates.

 After brief discussions, the bill named “The Campus Self-Defense Act” was pushed forward toward consideration for passage on Wednesday, Jan. 18, by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee for the previous iteration of the bill had failed after facing student-led opposition as well as opposition from then Marshall President Jerome Gilbert.

  The current bill in contention is facing objections from both current Marshall President Brad Smith as well as West Virginia University President E. Gordan Gee, as displayed in a joint statement also released on Wednesday.

   “We, at West Virginia University and Marshall University, support local control, and we believe that our boards of governors are best suited to decide whether guns should be permitted on campus.” presidents Smith and Gee said. “We, therefore, do not support statewide campus carry.”

 Both university presidents showed concern for student and faculty safety in the statement, stating mental health challenges, student recruitment and on-campus debates are reasons for apprehension for the bill’s passing.

  The proposal does, however, contain certain provisions, such as the requirement of a valid concealed carry license for those under the age of 21; allowing the universities to set rules pertaining to the carry in certain spaces around campus and delayed implementation until July 2024.