EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSGUN DEBATE
from Eyewitness News Online
WV Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Aimed At Protecting Gun Ownership
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Feb. 27, 2013 6:57 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 28, 2013 9:10 AM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
West Virginia lawmakers are getting into the gun debate. But they're proposing bills that would strengthen gun rights.
State lawmakers are expected to introduce several bills this session. The house has already started working on two bills.
The first bill clarifies the Governor's powers, stating that the Chief Executive does not have the power to confiscate or limit firearms during a state of emergency. That bill passed the House on Friday.
Another bill, which unanimously passed through the Political Subdivision Committee on Wednesday, deals with municipalities. In 1999, a law was passed making it illegal for cities and towns to pass gun laws that would limit the purchase, possession or sale of firearms and ammunition. But several cities in West Virginia, including Charleston, already had gun laws on the books and were grandfathered in. The new House bill would repeal that and repeal the gun laws in those cities.
"We certainly can reassert our state level gun owner rights and I think as a state we can express our opinion to those in DC who would like to strip our Second Amendment rights by saying we believe in the Second Amendment as West Virginians," Delegate Patrick Lane who is co-sponsoring the bill says. Lane is a republican representing Kanawha County.
In Charleston, there is a 72-hour waiting period to get a gun and you can only buy one gun a month. Mayor Danny Jones says the laws help cut down on crime and keep out-of-state drug dealers from stocking up on guns and then selling them once they go back home, where guns are harder to buy. Jones says if the law passes it will not be good for Charleston.
The bill's next step is the House Judiciary Committee.
Meanwhile, in Washington, lawmakers are moving in the opposite direction, pushing for tighter gun laws. On Wednesday Senators were debating the assault weapons ban.
The debate comes as the National Association for Gun Rights unveiled its latest ad, attacking Senator Joe Manchin for what they say is his stance on guns.
"Senator Joe Manchin is literally the cornerstone for gun control in Washington, D.C right now," Dudley Brown with the NAGR says.
But Manchin says the attacks are, simply, false.
"It's all wrong what you're hearing, the only thing that I'm involved that I'm working on is basically a criminal and mental background check," Senator Manchin says.
Manchin says he is not in favor of an assault weapons ban or creating a registry of gun owners.
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