After passing in the state Senate Judiciary Committee last week and in the state Senate Finance Committee on Monday, Senate Bill 149 was passed in the West Virginia Senate unanimously today. We expect SB 149 to soon be assigned to the state House Judiciary Committee for its consideration.
Introduced by state Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D-16), SB 149 would mandate police authorities return all seized firearms, not currently being held as evidence in a criminal investigation, to the lawful owner if able. If the lawful owner is not found or unable to take possession of the firearm, SB 149 would require these agencies to sell these firearms at a public auction to a licensed firearms dealer. Current West Virginia law allows for seized guns to be immediately destroyed.
SB 149 would also prevent the wasteful and expensive practice of destroying firearms that could be re-circulated through licensed dealers to the retail market. Localities would be enabled to reap the benefits of the sale proceeds and consumers would have access to affordable firearms through licensed gun dealers, with all of the usual safeguards that apply to dealer sales to the public.
We thank the state Senators who supported SB 149 during its consideration in the state Senate. Please continue to check www.NRAILA.org for more updates regarding SB 149.