CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee admits the language within a provision in the new gun law Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed last week is “not crystal clear.”

That provision states a municipality cannot prevent a person with a valid concealed carry permit from carrying a lawfully owned firearm into a municipally-owned recreation facility and “securely storing the firearm out of view and access to others during their time at the municipally owned recreation facility.”

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Corey Palumbo (D-Kanawha, 17)

“I can agree that that language is subject to multiple interpretations,” said Sen. Corey Palumbo (D-Kanawha, 17).

“I think the intent of that was to say that, if the rec center has a place in the rec center that would enable the person with a concealed carry permit to lock it away so there’s no way anyone else could get to it, then they can do that.” Otherwise, Palumbo said, the gun would have to be left locked in a vehicle.

But those with the National Rifle Association, which pushed for the language in the law during the legislative session, read that part of it differently.

“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,” said NRA spokesperson Catherine Mortensen.

Palumbo disagreed with the NRA’s interpretation.

“The intent, in my opinion the whole way, was there’s a place you can secure it and lock it away when you’re in there, not that you can walk around the rec center, wherever you want, with it.”

The City of Charleston has already filed for a declaratory judgment seeking clarity in Kanawha County Circuit Court. City officials have argued the recreational centers are really schools because they house Head Start and afterschool programs.

The law does allow cities to enact ordinances that prohibit or regulate the carrying or possessing of firearms in municipally owned or operated buildings.

“To me, it would have been much cleaner and simpler to just say, ‘Municipalities can regulate possession and carrying of guns in municipal buildings. Period.’ And what we’ve done is essentially say, ‘Municipal buildings except rec centers,'” said Palumbo.

The recreation center provision is part of a larger gun law. Overall, SB 317 takes guns out of the Home Rule process and, instead, limits all municipalities to regulations defined already in state and federal gun laws.

Supporters said it brings more uniformity to gun regulations across West Virginia.

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  • Dave

    The real shame is the WV male has lost all masculinity traits and must carry a gun to fill his manly void. Tisk Tisk you bunch of cowards who can't defend themselves.

    • GMAN

      DAVE - I do believe I'd be careful than to call out us men in WV that has, in your words, lost our masculinity. Sounds like about 98% of us could take ya. Forget the ammo!

  • DWL

    Wonder if the NRA and this bill's proponents will come-a-runnin' when the first CCP holder is arrested and charged? Going to get real expensive fast for that "lucky" person. I foresee appeals to at least the federal appellate level, maybe higher.

  • Armed.

    Danny boy doesn't realize that the rest of the state never banned guns in rec centers and there aren't any rash of gun related crimes in those.

    He's already stated they are in there illegally, so what is wrong with concealed carry permit holders going into rec centers? They aren't going to shoot up the place like he states. They just want to defend themselves.

  • Independent View

    Anger management class--maybe?

  • Jon

    Gun, guns, and more guns...that is the answer! This obsessive mentality with guns is part of the reason we are last or next to last in nearly every nationwide category. Let's focus on the real issues and learn to get along! The 2nd Amendment is an important part of our nation, but it doesn't mean toting guns everywhere, ready and willing to blow your neighbor away!

    • Shadow

      Neighbors, NO, Perps, YES

  • John

    Just another example of the idiots running this state and country not even knowing what they are passing as laws. I should be able to carry any place I want to carry. Period! I've never broken any laws.

    • wvrefugee

      You sir are an idiot. Why don't you run for office???

      • John

        I am an idiot, I work and pay taxes. You? What part of what I said did you have a problem with? The part about passing laws that they don't even understand? Well, that's proven. Or the part about being able to defend my life, my family, my property from criminals? That's constitutional. So, now who's the idiot?

      • UofL Grad

        You sir, are a hemorrhoid on the rear of humanity.. Why don't you stick to the local politics of whatever neck of the woods you are in.

  • Gordon

    I am beginning to see why America views us as the most unhappy state. And, why we are ranked 49th or 50th in every category.
    Our new state song should probably be the old Hee Haw song: "Gloom, Despair, Agony on me"

    • Debra

      +1 Gordon!

  • Independent View

    It's ironic that Danny Jones and Councilman Lane use the law when they believe that it's to their advantage, yet ignore it when it doesn't suit their agenda.
    The 2013 Legislature mandated under Home Rule that ALL municipalities recind their firearm laws. Danny Jones and Councilman Lane not only ignored the law, but thumbed their noses at it. Now, they want to use the law to enhance their position, which begs the question: how can elected representatives Danny Jones and Councilman Lane, both, in their oath of office to uphold the law, thumb their noses at it?
    Answer, because they act like spoiled brats when they do not get their way.
    It's not about the kids, it's about egos!
    Danny Jones and Mr. Lane recinding Charleston's ordinances was moot and condensending because they were supposed to do so last year. People are not as dumb as you believe them to be Danny Jones and Mr. Lane!

  • Aaron

    I guess I missed the rash of pistol carrying, old fat white dudes running rampant in low income recreation centers exposing the poor kids to weapons.

    It seems to me that Mayor Jones has latched onto a murky portion of the bill as a means of garnering attention. Anyone who's ever seen him on camera or heard him on Hoppy's show knows he's about as big a media where as there is.

    This isn't about rec centers, it's about the legislature overriding the good Mayor's a-thor-a-tay and his response to being smacked down. Seriously, the Governor should concede the rec center language, rewrite the bill to state that municipalities can control guns in their buildings and leave it at that. I'm sure that a simple fix can be had during the next special session.

  • whatamoroon

    I still wonder why we are concerned with who is carrying a legal gun and not with what should be obvious of who is carrying an illegal gun. This is precisely what Mayors against guns want to do. I want one mayor to stand up and say that they are going after criminals instead of law abiding, voting citizens.

    • Diablo

      Good Point

    • Jeremy

      Spot On!

  • The bookman

    My preference would be for the holder of the concealed carry permit to secure the weapon on their person, not in a locker unattended, locked or unlocked. My understanding of the law was to avoid inadvertent prosecutions of weapons violations due to the scattered nature of municipal law versus state law with regard to weapons in public locations. Can we just move on Mr Palumbo? Danny Jones?

    • Jason412


      Who's interpretation are you taking? The NRA or the Legislator's? I don't see how we could just move on when the law lacks clarity more than previously.

      • The bookman

        I don't see room for interpretation. If the law doesn't explicitly state that the weapon must be secured in a locker, or car when a locker is unavailable, then the holder of the permit should be within his/her rights to secure concealed on the person, locker, safe, or other secure location. Those who claim there to be room for interpretation don't like the language of the bill and are attempting to snatch victory from clear defeat. If the intention was to nail down specifics regarding storage, then they should have read the bill and proposed the specificity prior to enacting the legislation, (seems to be an over riding theme of this past session).

        And I would state again, if I were to find myself in a rec center carrying concealed, I would prefer the weapon stay on my person, where I knew it was safe and secure. Lockers can be pilfered, as well as vehicles. In fact there are usually disclaimers that facilities are not responsible for lost or stolen items placed in lockers.

        When I suggest it's time to move on, I mean it's time to accept the law and move forward. The legislature passed it and the Governor signed it. Next issue!

        • Jason412

          "Those who claim there to be room for interpretation don't like the language of the bill and are attempting to snatch victory from clear defeat."

          That's not true. It's Unger's bill and he's the one who originally said if in the rec center it'd either have to be in a locker or you couldn't bring it in. It seems everyone who now says the bill is open to interpretation, with the exception of Danny Jones, were proponents of the bill. That is what bothers me, the NRA should not be writing our laws.

          The explanation given by I think Unger for the lack of "locker" in the bill language was due to the fact some places may have secure storage containers/area's that are not, by definition, a locker.

          "When I suggest it's time to move on, I mean it's time to accept the law and move forward. The legislature passed it and the Governor signed it. Next issue!"

          If the Governor signs the minimum wage bill as is I expect you will accept it and move forward.

          • The bookman


            The point is that the minimum wage is so far below a living wage that it would take doubling the minimum wage to make a difference. We spend way to much time, energy and effort trying to make a convenience store job a middle class job instead of just creating middle class jobs. I'm not that old, just beyond forty, and worked minimum wage jobs into my mid twenties. You can't raise a family on it, nor should you try. If it makes you feel good to support $1.50 over two years, with all your facts and figures assuming full time hours, good for you. I'm not that naive to think that makes a difference, when most don't achieve full time, and certainly won't with the new 29 1/2 hr ceiling. Real solutions to real problems is what I would like to see, instead of all this drivel.

          • Jason412

            Unborn Girl,

            haha, I appreciate your point but it's hard not to laugh at the name.

            Is Planned Parenthood writing our laws? Is that why the fetal pain bill passed, and was vetoed?

            I would say that has more to do with historic Supreme Court decisions , as opposed to Planned Parenthood.

            But, I agree with your point, special interest groups should be left to suggesting legislation, not dictating the exact language to Legislator's who don't comprehend it.


            I agree Unger should have done a better job writing the bill. That doesn't change the fact it clearly has been demonstrated by the proponents of the bill to be open for interpretation. Obviously they interpreted the language differently than the NRA.

            " in time to make no difference in the lives of people but allow the proponents of this bill to rest easy at night knowing they care and they make a difference"

            As far as that goes, I'll say again to act as if a $3,100 a year increase on a $15k salary/a $60 a week increase on $290 per week/a 20% pay increase, however you want to view it, makes "no difference" is absurd and shows you to be far out of touch with the lower class.

          • The bookman

            Again, if Unger wanted specificity, he should have done a better job writing the bill. If Palumbo wanted specificity, he should have read the bill and informed Unger and others of the lack of specificity. These last minute theatrics is tiresome and dysfunctional, much like the session just concluded a few weeks ago.

            And yes, if the Governor signs the minimum wage bill, we should move on. That's our process. I would say that I believe the Governor would not be wise to sign it, making him culpable for the flawed legislation by his signature. In the event the legislature does not fix the OT issues, or it does not get fixed by other means, (see Stacey with an "e"), the impact could then be traced right back to Tomblin. The legislature can always pass a straightforward minimum wage bill before July and provide the 75 cents in time to make no difference in the lives of people but allow the proponents of this bill to rest easy at night knowing they care and they make a difference. Feel good legislation at its best. More election year pandering that amounts to nothing. Guns, abortion, minimum wage, all while we raid the Rainy Day Fund to pay our bills. Nonsense.

          • Unborn Girl


            The NRA should not be writing our laws you say. Great, will you please tell Planned Parenthood to stop writing our health laws too, I wanna a chance to grow up.

        • Wowbagger


    • The 2nd

      Danny Jones is by far too childish and sore loser to just let it go.

      Danny has recognized that wording from the beginning, that's why he said on Hoppy's show on day one he wasn't going to supply lockers , which I thought a juvenile reaction a gym not supplying lockers.

      The majority of the state population that have an opinion hates the persona of Charleston, and Danny Jones is the reason why.

      • Wowbagger

        Danny Jones made his bias clear when he joined Michael Bloomberg's anti gun group Mayors Against Illegal (and legal) Guns. I had some sympathy before this, but Mr Jones has now shown his true colors!

        Just like Joe Manchin he is now selling anti-gun favors to Bloomberg for campaign contributions. Yes once again a New Yorker is trying to buy West Virginia.