A bill that would allow for concealed weapons on college campuses in West Virginia cleared the House of Delegates just before an important legislative deadline. The measure, which saw a back and forth on the House active calendar on Crossover Day, ultimately passed on a 59-41 vote.
House Bill 2519, as passed by the House Wednesday, would allow individuals, including students, who have a permit to conceal carry a gun to do so on campus with some exceptions. The bill stipulates concealed firearms would not be allowed in campus daycares or at organized events in spaces with the capacity for more than 1,000 people.
According to a fiscal note from the state Higher Education Policy Commission, the measure is estimated to cost the state $11.6 million related to the hiring of security personnel, equipment and training.
House Bill 2519 was on third reading Wednesday and up for a vote with a right to amend. Before the consideration of amendments kicked off, delegates adopted a motion from Majority Leader Amy Summers, R-Taylor, to limit debate on each amendment to 15 minutes.
The chamber considered 10 amendments to the measure. The most notable proposed amendment would have required a person to be 21 years of age -- with proper permits -- to concealed carry on a college campus.
The House rejected all but one of the offered amendments over the course of nearly two hours of debate.
House Judiciary Chair John Shott, R-Mercer, offered the bulk of those proposed changes.
“I urge adoption for the last time. I’m sure people are happy to hear that,” Shott said just before his final amendment went to a vote.
The lone adopted amendment calls for colleges and universities to report to the Legislature on how the implementation of the “Campus Self Defense Act” will affect each institution’s finances, student enrollment, the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff and any incidents on campus related to a handgun.
Prior to the hours of debate on the floor, members of the House Rules Committee had once placed the bill to the side before changing course and putting it back on the active calendar.
With passage in the lower chamber, House Bill 2519 now heads to the Senate for consideration.