Patriot exemption unanimously passes Senate

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Senate bill seeking an exemption for the Parkersburg South Patriots’ musket from the Safe Schools Act made it through the Senate Tuesday afternoon and is on its way to the House for consideration where officials expect it to be approved.

“I believe our biggest hurdle has been eliminated,” Sen. David Nohe, R-Wood, said Tuesday. “The support for the bill was tremendous!”

The bill passed the Senate on third reading by a vote of 33-0-1.

The Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill 421, is sponsored by Nohe; Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants; Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam.

State code prohibits weapons on school grounds, except by law enforcement officers, unloaded weapons being auctioned and the West Virginia University Mountaineer, who carries a rifle as part of his uniform. The proposed bills would add the Patriots’ musket as an exception.

The proposed exemption for the South mascot would mirror what was done for the Mountaineer mascot.

Local legislators have been seeking an exemption for the Patriot since last year. Last year’s effort failed to get out of committee. Nohe said this year’s attempt has been met with greater success.

“I don’t see any problems there,” Nohe said. “It was the Senate where the problems were last year!”

In the House, delegates John Ellem , R-Wood; Dan Poling, D-Wood; Tom Azinger, R-Wood, and Bill Anderson, R-Wood, sponsored the measure to exempt the musket.