West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin this week signed into law an important measure prohibiting cities and municipalities in the state from enacting their own restrictions on the carrying and sale of firearms. Senate Bill 317 received strong support in both houses of the state Legislature, passing unanimously in the Senate and breezing through the House of Delegates 92-5.
The bill requires several cities, including Charleston, South Charleston, Martinsburg and Dunbar, to void existing laws that mandate a three-day waiting period for handguns and limit gun purchases to one per month. It further prohibits cities from restricting legal concealed carry in all municipal buildings, including those being rented to private businesses. The measure also allows firearms to remain out of sight inside locked personal vehicles on city property.
"I signed Senate Bill 317 because I support our Second Amendment rights, and I also see the need for uniform and consistent gun laws throughout the state," Gov. Tomblin said in a statement on Tuesday, March 25. "I believe this legislation will give municipalities clarity for regulating firearms in their facilities. I understand the concern of those who have voiced opinions about challenges within the bill related to municipally-owned recreational centers. I will continue to work with local and state officials to address those concerns."
The measure received the support of the National Rifle Association.
"This bill will bring uniformity to the confusing patchwork of gun laws around the state," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. "This bill will remove confusion and protect the rights of gun owners throughout the state. It is important to have clear and uniform laws upholding our Right to Keep and Bear Arms."