According to Legiscan:
The purpose of this bill is to create “The Campus Self Defense Act” which denies institutions of higher education the authority to restrict or regulate the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon by a person who holds a current license to carry a concealed deadly weapon.
The NRA supported bill passed the House Education Committee this past Monday and has moved on to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill was created from a National Rifle Association template and not surprisingly, has gotten opposition from the state’s colleges and universities. For example, from a Gazette editorial, here’s what West Virginia State’s president had to say about the bill:
West Virginia State University President Anthony Jenkins said all the public Mountain State four-year colleges are opposed to the bill (House Bill 4298). He said many campuses have summer camps with children, and he brought up possibly dangerous situations, like packed rivalry sports games for which people have been “pre-gaming,” or fraternity events with excessive drinking, or a student conduct matter where a student is about to face discipline.
He said colleges should be “grounds where we use our emotional intelligence and our intellectual capacity to agree to disagree, and to interject weapons changes the very foundation of what higher education is supposed to be about.” He said colleges shouldn’t become the “O.K. Corral.”
“Let me speak for West Virginia State University, because I’m the president,” Jenkins said. “I don’t want gun-toting students on campus, and I don’t want gun-toting faculty and staff and administrators on campus.”
How then is the bill justified (other than the NRA wanting it passed) by its lead sponsor, Republican Jim Butler from Mason? According to an editorial in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch:
Butler's rationale for the bill is that it will be an "equalizer" for students and college employees. He and an NRA representative noted during the committee meeting that employees and students can face penalties as severe as expulsion and termination if they violate a college's ban on guns, whereas a visitor who brings a gun on campus can escape punishment if he or she is caught and agrees to leave the campus. "So, this law . . . would give the students and the faculty really the same self-defense right that everybody else has," Butler said.
The bill has eleven sponsors (1 Democrat) and the only local name I recognized was Pat McGeehan from Hancock.
Note – two of my sources are editorials from the Huntington and Charleston papers. I have not seen anything in our local papers and that local favorite McGeehan and the NRA support this bill probably means I won’t.
Additional note – The Gazette editorial also points out the hypocrisy of our legislators:
And, as always, when talking about guns and West Virginia legislators, let’s not forget that those legislators — while insisting that the solution to every safety and security problem is more guns everywhere — refuse to allow guns where they work, inside the state Capitol. A move to do so a few years ago in the House of Delegates — made by a pro-gun-control lawmaker to highlight her colleagues’ hypocrisy — was resoundingly defeated.