“The National Rifle Association applauds the West Virginia Legislature’s passage of NRA-backed campus carry,” NRA West Virginia State Director Art Thomm told Fox News Digital in a statement on Tuesday.
“There is no reason why any adult who is deemed mature enough to defend his or her country at war should not be entrusted to defend themselves and others on campus. And there is no reason an adult who is allowed to carry in other parts of the state can’t be trusted when on campus,” he added.
The bill will now go to Republican Governor Jim Justice. If signed into law, West Virginia will become the 12th state to pass legislation of this nature, along with other red states like Georgia and Kansas.
Republican Delegate Mike Honaker, a former Virginia State Police officer, was among those who supported the bill. He was one of the officers who responded to the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 that left 32 people dead.
“I know we have to be careful about this issue,” he said. “But there’s no way that I, as someone who has lived through this and seen it with my own eyes, could forbid another free law-abiding American citizen from carrying a firearm and retaining the ability and the capacity to defend yourself or others, God forbid they ever be put in a position to do it,” he added.
The vote came just days after a shooting at Michigan State University that left three students dead and five others injured.
Student ET Bowen told CBS news that students were “terrified on campus as it is.”
“We don’t need more guns to exacerbate that. This bill is like throwing kerosene on the wildfire, and it is appalling that we even need to say that while there’s still blood on the ground at Michigan State,” Bowen said.
Director Thomm responded by saying that criminals will break laws no matter what: “Criminals break laws regardless of boundaries or gun-free zones. Law-abiding people don’t. NRA-backed campus carry has been passed in many states, and we look forward to Gov. Justice signing this life-saving legislation into law.”