City leaders may still try to eliminate the B&O tax on manufacturers, however, Jones and Molgaard said.
The home rule bill appears to give Charleston a year or more to repeal its gun laws, unless the city decides to withdraw from the program. Once again, the language is unclear, Ellis said.
"A plain reading of the bill seems to show cities like Charleston have until June 1  to elect whether to continue under home rule and, if they do, 90 days to repeal their gun laws."
At risk are laws Charleston passed 20 years ago that impose a three-day waiting period and other restrictions on handgun sales, and forbid carrying guns and other weapons in city buildings and recreational areas.
"We've got until June , which means nothing happens until then," Jones said.
"But what you have to understand is the Legislature will act before then. I fully expect the Legislature will pass something in January 2014."
Opting out of home rule won't help, Jones said.
"Just because we don't choose to go into home rule by June 2014 doesn't mean we won't lose our gun laws. We'll lose them anyway. [But] we're going to proceed on assuming nothing's going to happen."
Meanwhile, council President Tom Lane hasn't given up hope of trying to challenge the constitutionality of the home rule bill. He's been studying the bill and plans to present his findings to council Monday.
"I'm distressed with the bill passed by the Legislature," he said, "that a bill aimed at giving more freedom to cities takes away existing laws and existing rights. The two seem irreconcilable."
State Sen. Brooks McCabe, an original sponsor of the home rule extension bill, said he would not favor another extension beyond the 2019 end of the second pilot program.
"At some point we have to sit down and have a serious discussion on letting cities govern themselves," McCabe said.
The Legislature traditionally has kept a tight rein on local government, he said.
"I think legislatively we have to have a different view going forward. I would hope three or four years from now they would see the economic vitality of cities is crucial to the success of the state."Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.