Bill to trump city gun ordinances likely won't pass WV Senate - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV Senate President Kessler: Bill to trump city gun ordinances likely won't pass

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A bill that would have nullified city gun ordinances probably won't make it out of the West Virginia Senate.

Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, said March 26 the chances of House Bill 2760 passing the Senate "are not very good right now," and it's due, in part, to threats made against the Senate Government Organization Chairman Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson.

"There's a right way and a wrong way to go about the political process; that's one of the rationales," Kessler said. "Secondly, I never heard, truthfully, from any constituent from any of those towns that they were somehow subjected to extreme hardship in purchasing weapons of any kind, particularly hand guns. That's all it applies to.

"I've not heard from any constituent that the law is either too cumbersome or unwieldy or somehow affects their ability to enjoy the rights and privileges of gun ownership," Kessler added. "It seems to be like basically an interest group who advocates basically that creates the furor rather than some of the rank-and-file folks in these communities."

House Bill 2760, which passed the House of Delegates earlier this month 94-4, would make gun purchasing laws uniform across the state. Currently, the cities of Charleston and Martinsburg, as well as some smaller municipalities, have their own gun purchasing ordinances that were grandfathered into legislation passed in 1999. This bill would repeal those ordinances.

Snyder's Senate Government Organization Committee took up the bill after it passed the House. But then his office began fielding "hundreds of phone calls and emails from gun rights supporters," according to the Associated Press, urging the committee to act sooner rather than later on the measure. Snyder said about 10 of those calls were considered threatening, and police were called to the Capitol March 15 to investigate the claims.

Although the House and Senate have until Sunday to pass bills out of their respective chambers, Kessler said not every 2nd Amendment bill will pass the full Legislature.

"I've been a vocal advocate and champion of the major gun, 2nd amendment legislation passed in this body in the last decade—everything from the Bloomberg bill, to sting operations and the castle doctrine, et cetera, et cetera," Kessler said. "I've been a vocal sponsor and supporter and drafter in many instances of all that legislation."

Other 2nd Amendment bills are moving through the Senate, Kessler pointed out, including a bill passed by the House that would not allow state government or local entities to confiscate firearms in a declared state of emergency.