CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A legislative session that opened with a flurry of 36 bills to repeal, weaken or nullify gun control measures in the state will end with the possibility of only a handful of those bills becoming law.
Of the 36 bills, only nine are still active following "crossover" day at the Legislature on Wednesday -- the last day the House or Senate can act on bills originating in each body.
The inactive bills include a proposal to nullify municipal gun ordinances in Charleston and three other cities (HB2760). Technically, that bill is still alive after passing the House of Delegates 94-4, but Senate leaders have said they will not take it up this session, after some senators received threatening calls and email demanding passage of the legislation.
Bills that died Wednesday include some of the more controversial gun measures, including bills that would have nullified any new federal statutes to ban semi-automatic weapons or limit the size of firearms magazines in West Virginia. (HB2832, SB420). A separate bill would have made it a criminal offense to enforce those federal regulations (HB2504). Those bills were never taken up for consideration in committee.
Likewise, bills that would have exempted firearms, ammunition and accessories purchased and maintained in West Virginia from all federal regulations (HB2427, SB68) were never given consideration.
Also dead this session are bills to allow persons with concealed weapons permits to bring guns onto the state Capitol complex (HB2459, SB333), and to have loaded weapons in vehicles parked at the Capitol (HB2136).
Firearms bills that are still active are comparatively less controversial, including two of the nine bills (HB2355, SB421) to allow the mascot of Parkersburg South High School to carry a musket on school grounds.
Three other bills would allow family court judges and magistrates (HB2787), investigators with the legislative Commission on Special Investigations (HB2826) and investigators with the Secretary of State's office (HB3139) to carry concealed weapons on duty, if they have permits.
Other active bills would relax state reciprocity for concealed weapon permits (SB369), prohibit authorities from seizing weapons during declared states of emergency (HB2471), and would make an exception to the law prohibiting discharging weapons within 500 feet of a residence -- in locations where there are no other residences within that vicinity (HB2866).
As of Wednesday, 83 percent of the 1,828 bills introduced this session are dead.
That leaves 312 bills still under active consideration, with 143 House bills and 169 Senate bills surviving "crossover" day.