MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The spokesperson for the National Rifle Association said the new law dealing with gun regulations in West Virginia’s cities is about clarity, including in instances when people with concealed carry permits walk into recreation centers.
“These are publicly funded, taxpayer funded facilities and they’re not doing government business,” said Catherine Mortensen, spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“It’s not the county courthouse or the city hall and taxpayers are paying for this (type of facility) and these people have concealed carry permits. They’ve been vetted. Everyone who has a concealed carry permit, and this law only applies to those individuals, they’ve been vetted through a background check.”
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed SB 317 earlier this week. It removes gun regulations from the Home Rule process and, instead, limits all municipalities to state and federal gun laws. All past grandfather clauses dealing with city gun laws have been removed as well.
In part, the law reads as follows: “A municipality may not prohibit a person with a valid concealed handgun permit from carrying an otherwise lawfully possessed firearm into a municipally owned recreation facility and securely storing the firearm out of view and access to others during their time at a municipally owned recreation facility.”
“Municipally owned recreation facility” is defined in the law as any municipal swimming pool, recreation center, sports facility, facility housing an afterschool program or other similar facility where children where children are regularly present.
“What this bill do is bring clarity to clarity to that,” said Mortensen. She said, with the law, those with concealed carry permits will either have to have those guns on them or secured in a locker within recreation facilities.
“If the rec center doesn’t have a locker that’s secure, I have to leave it in my car or I have to keep it on me,” she explained.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has said his city may challenge that part of the law in court.
The law does let cities enact and enforce ordinances that prohibit or regulate the carrying or possessing of firearms in municipally owned or operated buildings.