The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

April 18, 2014

W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

CHARLESTON — The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law. The Kanawha County Circuit Court filing said the city didn’t describe a dispute with a third party, so the court can’t offer advisory opinions. The city is essentially suing no one, Morrisey said.

“If the City is allowed to proceed with this case, anyone in the state who doesn’t like a law could file a similar action, burdening our courts and doing great damage to our legal system,” Morrisey said in a news release.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones called Morrisey’s involvement “premature and political,” saying the law is conflicting.

“We should not have to wait until someone brings a gun into a Head Start Program to seek relief, as the attorney general would suggest,” Jones said in a news release.

The new gun law lets concealed carry permit owners bring guns to city rec facilities, like swimming pools, tennis courts and after-school centers. Under the law, guns must be stored out of people’s sight and access.

The city argues it’s a felony to bring guns to school grounds or places hosting school events, so centers with school sports and educational programs should be shielded.

“Compliance with both laws by a city is impossible,” the city’s complaint argues.

The city also says guns shouldn’t be allowed in city recreational centers if there aren’t already lockers available to store them.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the bill after only five House delegates voted against it, and no one opposed it in the Senate.

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