CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — A controversial bill that could put more guns on college campuses in West Virginia took a big step forward on Tuesday.

In the end, the vote wasn’t even close as the State Senate advanced the campus concealed-carry bill on a vote of 29 to 4, with one absent. If it becomes law, students, faculty and staff could carry concealed weapons for their own protection, but this would not allow open-carry of guns. Anyone who decides to participate must go through training which is required to get a concealed-carry permit.

The sides are sharply divided on whether this is safe.

“Well, I think as a former United States Attorney, right, I bring a different perspective to this. There’s no doubt there are guns on college campuses today. I support it because it puts parameters around it. And we’ll certainly work with universities and colleges to make sure that our kids are secure,” said State Sen. Mike Stuart, (R) Kanawha.

“I just think it’s a bad idea to encourage carry concealed weapons on college campuses. I just think that’s a decision better left to each university and their security needs and concerns,” said State Sen. Mike Caputo, (D) Marion – Minority Whip.

In a compromise, there were exceptions made. For example, you would not be allowed to conceal-carry a firearm into a campus sporting event that has more than 1,000 people in attendance. Nor, could you conceal-carry a handgun inside a campus day care center.
The bill, which is numbered SB-10, now goes to the House.

Many higher education leaders are not supportive of this bill. For example, the presidents of WVU, Marshall University and West Virginia State University are among those who oppose it.