Despite the consternation over how the home rule legislation emerged from the capitol on the final night of the session, South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens believes his city will still try to become part of the pilot program.
“My lean is we will still pursue it,” said Mullens. “This gun law legislation doesn’t affect us like it does Charleston. We don’t have all the restrictions they have.”
The one restriction which might have to change for South Charleston to qualify is to drop the prohibition on carrying weapons into a city-owned building if you have a conceal carry permit.
“The way I understand it is, we can still have our regulation that you can’t bring weapons into our community center for example, unless you have the conceal weapons permit,” said Mullens. “I’m not crazy about that.”
Mullens said the two ideas should never have been merged into one bill, but they were and that’s what they have to live with. Unlike Charleston, South Charleston has no restrictions on gun sales. Mullins doesn’t like the idea of anybody carrying a weapon in city facilities, whether they have a conceal carry permit or not.
“I don’t believe we have to have anybody come into the community center for a biddy league basketball game carrying a weapon,” said Mullens. “I feel strongly about that. However, that being said, there could be a lot of advantages to being a participant in home rule.”
Although he can’t say for sure, he does believe the city will go forward and apply for the home rule participation in the months ahead.