On Saturday, April 13, the 2013 legislative session adjourned and with the closing gavel came the biggest victories for West Virginia gun owners and sportsmen in recent history. This legislative session saw the passage of four significant pro-gun bills that will advance the Second Amendment rights of West Virginia residents.
House Bill 2431, sponsored by Delegate Rupie Phillips (D-24), amends the application process for a Concealed Pistol/Revolver Permit, making West Virginia permit holders eligible for exemption from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for firearm purchases. Such carry permit holders have already cleared a background check, and HB 2431 will conform state law to federal law and lead to greater reciprocity for permit holders throughout the United States.
House Bill 2471, sponsored by state House Speaker Rick Thompson (D-19), prohibits the restriction of the lawful use, carrying, transfer, transportation, storage or display of a firearm or ammunition during any declared state of emergency. HB 2471 would protect law-abiding citizens in West Virginia from a violation of their constitutional rights reminiscent of what occurred in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where law-abiding citizens were stripped of their lawfully owned firearms by overzealous government officials leaving them defenseless and unable to protect their families and property.
Senate Bill 369, sponsored by state Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D-16), increases the number of states that recognize a West Virginia Concealed Pistol/Revolver Permit and allow residents of another state, who hold a valid out-of-state permit or license, to carry in West Virginia.
Senate Bill 435, sponsored by state Senator Herb Snyder (D-16) and amended by Delegate Patrick Lane (R-38), requires Charleston and any other city participating in the underlying bill's Home Rule Program that currently have and enforce local gun control ordinances to be consistent and uniform with the rest of the state. This amendment offered by Delegate Lane strengthens current firearms preemption laws by removing existing “grandfather” clauses for these certain localities to ensure a uniform set of firearms laws statewide. It would eliminate restrictions such as the three-day waiting period and gun rationing for handgun purchases in Charleston that only serve to restrict the rights of responsible gun owners. These critical improvements are long overdue for residents and businesses in cities like Charleston and Martinsburg where they are subject to unreasonable and restrictive local rules and regulations on legal firearms.
The four bills above are now with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) awaiting his signature. Please e-mail Governor Tomblin and respectfully ask that he sign these four bills into law. Governor Tomblin can be reached by e-mail by clicking here.
The NRA thanks you for your overwhelming support throughout this legislative session. Without your help, the passage of this legislation would not have been possible.
Furthermore, the NRA, in close coordination with state Senators and Delegates, initiated and shepherded these bills through every step in the legislative process. Some groups caused confusion and problems using counterproductive tactics, but your NRA was there throughout the process to ensure that these significant bills were passed in spite of those efforts.
We specifically thank the following state legislators for their efforts in going above and beyond with active and steadfast support during the 2013 legislative session to ensure that these four pro-gun bills passed:
House Speaker Rick Thompson
House Majority Leader Brent Boggs
Delegate Rupie Phillips
Delegate Patrick Lane
Senate President Jeff Kessler
Senate Majority Leader John Unger
Senator Herb Snyder
Senator Daniel Hall
Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall