West Virginia Senate Judiciary passes four gun measures in an hour

West Virginia Senate Judiciary passes four gun measures in an hour

Art Thom, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Will Price/West Virginia Legislative Photography) Over about an hour, West Virginia’s Senate Judiciary Committee passed four gun measures. The votes took place as America has rekindled its debate over firearms in society, following a mass shooting at three Atlanta massage parlors one week ago and another at a Boulder, Colo., grocery store one day ago. Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday afternoon ordered that all West Virginia and United States flags be displayed at half-staff until sunset Saturday in remembrance of the shooting victims. The recent tragedies were not a central topic of the Senate Judiciary, though. Discussion instead focused on ensuring the rights of West Virginia gun owners. The committee discussed and passed one proposed amendment to the state Constitution, one resolution urging federal officials to not infringe on the 2nd Amendment and two bills that would change West Virginia firearms laws. Senate Joint Resolution 1 could lead to the “Protection of the Right to Bear Arms Amendment.” Rupie Phillips “I think this is a very good chance for us to stand our ground on our 2nd Amendment rights,” said Senator Rupie Phillips, R-Logan. It would specify in the state Constitution that local governments could not pass gun laws stricter than state code. Both chambers of the Legislature would need to pass this by a two-thirds majority, and then the citizens would vote on the possible constitutional amendment. The proposed amendment is summarized as: […]

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