By Giuseppe Sabella
Permits to carry a concealed firearm are declining, along with the associated revenue for law enforcement.
West Virginians gained the right to carry a firearm without a permit last May, but the numbers started to drop back in 2014.
About 28,000 residents held a permit in 2016, which is about 2,000 less than the year before, according to State Police records.
Both legislators and authorities argued in favor of public safety before legislators overrode a veto of House Bill 4145 in March 2016, making way for permitless concealed carry.
However, neither side could agree whether permit requirements helped the public or infringed on the rights of its citizens.
They did find a common ground when it came to the importance of proper firearm training, though both parties once again split when it came to whether training should be required.
Pharmacist Don Radcliff, a permit holder for more than 25 years, stands on that common ground.
He shot and killed a would-be robber at Good Family Pharmacy in 2015, and opponents of permitless carry soon used his skilled response to highlight the need for a training requirement.
What they missed, Radcliff said, is he applied for a permit before the state required training.
Radcliff said he is actually against such requirements.
By Phil Kabler
Rock, meet immovable object. Gov. Jim Justice is taking a significant gamble by calling the Legislature into special session on the 2017-18 state budget this week without the semblance of consensus from leadership in the House of Delegates.
The strategy, as posited here last week, is to get the Senate to pass the Justice administration/Senate leadership budget compromise, and then put the pressure on the House, via affected constituent groups, to fold on its "no new taxes" rhetoric.
It's a giant, $4 billion game of chicken, and Justice is counting on House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, and company to blink first.
Cynics among us could foresee a repeat of May 2016, when then-Gov.