Breaking down the controversial gun bill - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Breaking down the controversial gun bill

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Pawn shops and gun stores within Charleston city limits will no longer have to abide by the city's old gun ordinance. City officials mailed letters to these shops Wednesday telling them they can sell handguns without a three-day waiting period or one-gun-per month limit.

It was a letter Shane Walker, manager of the All-N-One Pawn Shop in Kanawha City, has been waiting for.

"With the three-day wait they were much more likely to go to a shop outside the city limits to see if that shop had it and would buy it there," he said. "We'll probably, you know, make a few more sales than we otherwise normally would."

On Monday Charleston City Council voted to eliminate the city's purchase limit and waiting period, which was enacted in 1993. Many people have wondered why Mayor Danny Jones pushed this change through, especially since he has been strongly opposed to gun legislation these past few weeks.

Jones told 13 News the city would be forced one way or another to take the ordinance off the book so the council decided to do it now. He also said the ordinance has been used to fuel other gun bills in the legislature, like Senate Bill 317.

Commonly referred to as the gun bill, Senate Bill 317 seeks to create uniform gun laws throughout the Mountain State by eliminating city gun ordinances. However, this bill has created a lot of confusion and commotion.  In particular, the portion which addresses guns in municipal recreation centers.

 According to the bill's text, municipalities can still enforce and enact laws that prohibit a person from carrying a firearm in city owned or operated buildings, like courthouses and city halls. However, municipalities must display signs. Cities can also enforce and enact ordinances that prohibit a person from carrying firearms openly in community buildings.

Under the bill, those with concealed-carry permits can bring their guns into city recreation centers as long as they are securely stored and out of view and access to others. If there is nowhere to store these firearms, municipalities can prohibit them in recreation centers entirely.

"The intent of that was you can come in and lock it in a locker securely and then you can go about your business in the rec center and get it when you leave," said Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha. "It's not that you can walk around the rec center with a gun."

Palumbo is on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He helped mediate the bill.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin must now decide if he will sign the bill into law or veto it. It was delivered on his desk Tuesday. According to protocol, he will have 15 days from Tuesday, excluding Sundays, to make a decision. If he takes no action the bill will automatically go into law.