CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the municipal gun bill into law Tuesday evening and Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said the city would challenge it in court.
In a prepared statement Tomblin said he signed Senate Bill 317 because he supports 2nd Amendment rights.
“I also see the need for uniform and consistent gun laws throughout the state. I believe this legislation will give municipalities clarity for regulating firearms in their facilities,” Tomblin said.
Mayor Jones said the law will allow guns to be brought into recreational centers where Head Start and after school programs are held. He said the city would fight the law in court hoping to get the rec centers recognized as school facilities, where guns are illegal.
“We believe these recreational centers are in fact schools,” Jones told MetroNews Tuesday evening. “If that is in fact the case then not only will it not only be permissible it will be a felony.”
Gov. Tomblin said he understood the concerns when it comes to municipally-owned recreational centers.
“I will continue to work with local and state officials to address those concerns,” Tomblin promised.
Mayor Jones met with Tomblin about the bill two weeks ago and is not surprised that he signed it.
“There’s no upside to him vetoing this bill. Not politically, it’s just not there,” Jones said. “For me there’s just no moral upside to sign it but that’s not a choice I get to make.”
Jones said the city leaders of Charleston would fight the law as much as possible.
“I want it to be on record that the City of Charleston and its leadership did everything to stop it in case there is a calamity at one of these rec centers because the legislature put guns in there,” the mayor said.
Charleston City Council rescinded its controversial gun purchase ordinance last week.