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Morrisey Seeks Dismissal Of Charleston Challenge To WV Gun Law

Reported: Apr. 17, 2014 3:34 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 17, 2014 11:01 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Heath Harrison) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Thursday that his office is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit by the city of Charleston regarding a gun law passed by the Legislature.

The law, passed by the Legislature in 2013 and signed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, eliminated city ordinances on carrying and selling firearms, and required cities to eliminate local restrictive gun laws. Proponents of the law said it was aimed at keeping the state’s gun laws uniform.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones challenged the law in Kanawha County Circuit Court, seeking clarification on whether the law allowed people to bring guns into city recreational centers that offer youth programs.

Jones said at the time that it is a felony to bring guns onto school grounds and school-related events at city recreation centers. His complaint argued guns should not be allowed in other city recreational centers unless lockers were available to store them.

Morrisey said in a statement Wednesday that the city lawsuit should be dismissed because no one was being sued and an adverse party was not listed.

“Instead, the city asks the circuit court judge to render an opinion on the “validity” and “construction” of the law, which passed by overwhelming, bipartisan majorities of the Legislature and was signed by the governor,” the statement read.

Motions were filed to intervene in the case, which is being heard by Kanawha County Cicuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Jones responded to Morrisey's action in a news release.

"The City of Charleston is not surprised by Attorney General Morrisey’s attempt to involve his office in the case we filed that attempts to keep hand guns out of Head Start Programs and other Kanawha County School activities that take place in our municipal recreation centers," Jones said. "Our position is simple: Senate Bill 317 conflicts with W.Va. Code Section 61-7-11a, which makes it a felony to '…possess a firearm or other deadly weapon on school property….: His challenge is premature and political. There is a direct conflict between these two laws. We are asking for a declaratory judgment to clarify the law because it has been stated by members of the West Virginia Senate that S.B. 317 is subject to 'multiple interpretations.' We should not have to wait until someone brings a gun into a Head Start Program to seek relief, as the attorney general would suggest.”



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