West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The protest by miners left unpaid by bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel has stretched into a second week. Their blockade of a Kentucky railroad track gained national attention and called to mind the area’s history of labor struggles.

On this West Virginia morning, we’ll hear the second of two reports by Sydney Boles, as she asks miners what they think about the future of their industry. 

The fallout continues from an anti-Muslim poster and materials displayed Friday during West Virginia’s GOP Day at the Capitol. Host Suzanne Higgins speaks with leaders of three religions – Islam, Judaism, and Christianity – who all say the issues of racism and discrimination go far deeper than Friday's events.

Emotions ran high in the House of Delegates late Wednesday evening as HB 2519 – the Campus Self Defense Act – came to the floor after a day of procedures that took it off and then back on the House’s active calendar. We recap the night’s action, and we take a special look at foster care.

This week, we've seen a teacher and school workers strike, the death of a massive controversial education bill, and a campus-carry gun bill zoom through the House of Delegates. We bring you up-to-date on all these issues and more.

Jesse Wright / WVPB

About 100 West Virginia University faculty and students gathered outside of Woodburn Circle Thursday afternoon to voice their concerns about a so-called “campus carry” bill making its way through the West Virginia House of Delegates.

With SB 451 – comprehensive education reform – effectively dead, attention now turns to another bill that’s stirring up controversy at the statehouse and around West Virginia. HB 2519 – the Campus Self Defense Act – is on the fast track. The bill would allow people with concealed carry licenses to carry their  guns on college campuses.

We turn our attention to agriculture needs in West Virginia. Host Suzanne Higgins chats with Jennifer Greenlief, Assistant Commissioner at the West Virginia Department of Agriculture about the hemp industry in West Virginia, agriculture jobs, and funding needs to the department’s facilities.

West Virginia House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, studies legislation in a House Finance Committee meeting in 2017.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia lawmakers in the Eastern Panhandle have a long list of issues they hope to tackle in the upcoming state Legislative session, including reintroducing a controversial bill to allow eligible people to carry guns on college campuses.

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A West Virginia man accused of stealing 180 guns from the same pawn shop has pleaded guilty to multiple firearms charges.

Prosecutors say 23-year-old Robert Lee Reid of Branchland entered the pleas Monday in federal court in Huntington.

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A federal agency and a trade association are offering a reward for information in the theft of firearms in West Virginia.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Shooting Sports Foundation are offering up to a total of $5,000 for information leading to a conviction in the theft of firearms from Gun Runner in Fairmont.

Edward Kimmel / Flickr

Police say a BB gun has been found on the campus of a West Virginia elementary school.

Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial told The Herald-Dispatch the weapon and a student at Central City Elementary School were taken into custody. He told the paper that "the gun was taken very quickly."

On The Legislature Today, we bring you another reporter roundtable where we discuss some of the biggest issues from the week. Host Andrea Lannom is joined by reporters Jake Zuckerman of the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews.

There's a surprising correlation between guns and West Virginia's Trump voters. Also, the fight over school consolidation goes to the Supreme Court. And our favorite Tom Petty songs. On this week's Front Porch podcast.

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West Virginia's Attorney General has filed a brief on behalf of a 21-state coalition urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments against Maryland gun restrictions. The Maryland statute prohibits sale and possession of certain semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines. West Virginia allows them.

Bullets, Bullet, Ammunition

Nearly a year ago, executives with Ranger Scientific LLC announced plans to bring a large industrial facility to a reclaimed surface mine site in West Virginia.

Several state officials, mostly Republicans, spoke at the event and touted the pro-business legislative agenda they said helped attract the ammunitions manufacturing project near Belle.

The Main Hall at West Liberty
e-WV Encyclopedia

West Liberty University's Board of Governors has approved a campus ban on firearms and other deadly weapons.

WTOV-TV reports the vote Wednesday followed a state law enacted this year that allows the carrying of concealed handguns without a permit.

@yeagerairport / Twitter

Officials say a Huntington man has been cited after trying to bring a loaded gun onto a plane at the Yeager Airport.

Yeager Airport Police Chief Joe Crawford tells local news outlets that officials cited 31-year-old Thomas Marcum with a violation of airport regulation following Wednesday's incident.

Petr David Josek / AP Photo

Correction: Name corrected from Ranger Scientific LLC to Ranger Scientific. 


An ammunitions company has announced plans to build a factory in southern West Virginia and add 400 jobs.

Ranger Scientific officials said Tuesday the company has acquired 1,000 acres on a reclaimed mountaintop removal coal mine.

It says the $50 million facility will produce more than 500 million rounds of specialty rifle ammunition each year.

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Charleston police say a man is facing charges after his gun accidentally discharged during a children's swimming lesson. No one was injured.

Chief of Detectives Steve Cooper tells The Charleston Gazette-Mail that 41-year-old Lloyd Simms was charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a school after turning himself in to police Saturday.

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed a bill that would prohibit county parks from banning guns.

The Democrat's veto message Tuesday says counties are in a better position than the legislature to decide whether gun bans at parks are appropriate.

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Yeager Airport police cited a Logan County man after a loaded handgun was discovered in a carry-on bag.

The Transportation Security Administration says a TSA officer staffing an X-ray machine at the airport's checkpoint detected the .38-caliber semiautomatic handgun on Saturday as the bag passed along a conveyor belt.

Joshuashearn / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia is limiting public entry points at its Capitol and making visitors walk through metal detectors to enter the building.

The Division of Protective Services said Wednesday one public entrance will be available on the building's west wing starting Jan. 8. An east wing entrance will also be available starting Jan. 10 for the upcoming legislative session.

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A 21-year-old Maryland man has been sentenced in West Virginia to three years and five months in federal prison for possessing stolen firearms.

Gaithersburg resident Nevyou Alemu was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Clarksburg.

Mass Shootings and Appalachian Gun Culture

Dec 4, 2015

Jody Lee Hunt gunned down his ex-girlfriend, two of her lovers and his main competitor in one day. The 2014 slayings near Morgantown are just one example of mass shootings in America.

But are mass shootings more common in gun-rich Appalachia? And are we more likely to target strangers or the people we know and love?

Find out by listening to this week's episode of The Front Porch podcast.

(WT-en) Haem85 at English Wikivoyage [CC BY-SA 1.0 (],
Carson Maynard, 2006 / Wikimedia Commons

State police say a Bluefield High School student brought an unloaded handgun to the school.

West Virginia State Police spokesman Lt. Michael Baylous says school personnel found the gun on Wednesday following an altercation between the female student and another student.

@yeagerairport / Twitter

Yeager Airport police have cited a Beckley man after a handgun was found in a carry-on bag.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said Friday that officers detected a 9mm semi-automatic handgun in the bag along a conveyor belt as the man was passing through the airport checkpoint in Charleston.

Joshuashearn / wikimedia Commons

Thursday in the House, among the multitude of bills passed, the Firearms Act of 2015 was also up for a vote. Senate Bill 347 has received an overwhelming amount of controversy among legislators, their constituents, law enforcement, and others, and no less was seen on the House floor.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says he opposes a bill that would remove permit and training requirements for carrying a concealed weapon in West Virginia.  

Members of the House of Delegates approved Senate Bill 347 Thursday allowing anyone over the age of 21 to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in the state. The bill as approved by the Senate would have set the age minimum at 18. 

Over the weekend the House Judiciary Committee met to discuss a handful of bills, but most notably the bill to amend the concealed carry law and a bill that reforms political spending in the state.

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  Citizens from 31 other states can now carry concealed handguns in West Virginia as the state adds to its reciprocity list. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced the addition of a reciprocity agreement with Nebraska today. The state becomes the seventh added since July of last year. Under the agreement, each state will honor a valid concealed carry permit issued by the other. Morrisey says Nebraska already recognized concealed handgun licenses issued by West Virginia.