As promised, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin dropped veto ink on a widely supported measure that would allow for concealed carry without a permit.
However, the Democratic governor stuck to his guns and repeated the same veto for the same reasons that he did of a similar bill last year amid criticism from gun control advocates, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin who represents the state in Washington, and law enforcement lobby groups.
Surrounded by police officers, Tomblin scuttled the measure citing concerns over the safety of law enforcement.
“Our law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe. Now it’s time for us to return the favor and veto #HB4145,” his office announced on Twitter.
This now sets up the measure for a veto override attempt by lawmakers, who only need a simple majority to make constitutional carry the law of the land and nine days left in the regular session to do it.
The National Rifle Association was disappointed in the turn of events, but is looking to state lawmakers for action.
“Gov. Tomblin’s decision to veto this bill is unfortunate, especially considering the significant support HB 4145 had from both sides of the aisle,” said Dakota Moore, NRA-ILA West Virginia liaison in an email to Guns.com. “We’re hopeful that, in going back to the legislature, each chamber will promptly reaffirm the rights of law-abiding individuals.”
Senate President Sen. Bill Cole, who is running as a GOP candidate for Tomblin’s job, is a supporter of the measure and is already predicting an extended session to finalize the state budget, which would similarly allow more time to rally a veto override as well.
Our law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe. Now it’s time for us to return the favor and veto #HB4145.
— Governor Tomblin (@GovTomblin) March 3, 2016