March 6, 2016: Governor Tomblin’s veto of the Knife Rights supported West Virginia Permitless (Constitutional) Carry bill, HB 4145, was overridden by the legislature this past weekend. According to guidance provided by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the new law is effective May 24, 2016. The new law allows West Virginians 21 years old and older, who are not prohibited persons, to carry a concealed “deadly weapon,” including knives, without a permit. That includes switchblades (automatics), balisongs and gravity knives.
However, knife carriers may still face local restrictions on their right to carry a knife. West Virginia’s existing preemption law protects firearms owners only.
WARNING: Persons 18 years old but less than 21 years old may obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun BUT that license DOES NOT include concealed carry of a knife or any other “dangerous weapon.” The penalties for anyone under 21 carrying a concealed knife illegally have been made far tougher. It is now a felony!
Anyone who is younger than 21 should be very careful to abide by West Virginia’s 3.5-inch concealed carry limit and the total prohibition on concealed carry of switchblades (automatics), balisongs and gravity knives.
Knife Rights will be working in West Virginia next year to try and fix this absurd change in the law that adversely impacts those under age 21.
With all the oxygen sucked out of the state capitol by HB 4145, it will be a challenge to get Knife Rights’ bipartisan West Virginia Knife Law Preemption bill, HB 4541, passed this year in the remaining days left in the session. HB 4541 would ensure that knife carriers don’t face local restrictions on their right to carry a knife under HB 4145.
Updated March 3, 2016: Knife Rights’ bipartisan West Virginia Knife Law Preemption bill, HB 4541, was introduced this week by sponsor Delegate Rupert Phillips Jr. Co-Sponsors include Delegates Michael Folk, Chris Stansbury, Joshua Nelson, Jeff Eldridge, Ralph Rodighiero, Kelli Sobonya, Eric L. Householder, Jill Upson and Mark Zatezalo.
This Knife Law Preemption bill is moving forward at the same time that West Virginia’s Permitless (Constitutional) Carry bill, HB 4145, was passed by the legislature with a majority sufficient to override the veto. The Governor has vetoed the bill as expected and a veto override vote requiring a simple majpority is expected to be held shortly. HB 4145 would allow adult West Virginians who are not prohibited persons to carry a concealed “deadly weapon”, including knives, without a permit. Combined with HB 4145, HB 4541 will ensure that knife carriers don’t face local restrictions on their right to carry a knife while existing firearms preemption law protects firearms owners only. West Virginia knife owners should strongly support both bills.
Knife Law Preemption repeals and prevents local ordinances more restrictive than state law which only serve to confuse or entrap law-abiding citizens traveling within or through the state. Preemption ensures citizens can expect consistent enforcement of state knife laws everywhere in a state.
Knife Rights passed the nation’s first Knife Law Preemption bill in Arizona in 2010 and has since passed preemption bills in Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and most recently in Wisconsin.