CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Legislation to remove a provision in a 2013 law barring cities that participate in municipal home rule from enacting ordinances regulating firearms passed the Senate 32-0 Tuesday.
However, the bill (SB317) also eliminates a clause that allowed Charleston and a few other West Virginia cities that had municipal gun ordinances on the books prior to 1999 to keep those ordinances in effect.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, said the bill is a compromise after "give and take" from lobbyists for the state Municipal League and for the gun interests.
As amended, cities and towns could not impose restrictions on firearms that are stricter than state or federal laws.
The bill does allow municipalities to prohibit firearms in county courthouses and city halls and in other municipal buildings such as convention centers and auditoriums.
Municipalities also could bar firearms in city parks and swimming pools, with the exception of individuals who have valid concealed-carry permits.
"Essentially, other municipal properties like parks, pools -- places like that -- they could only regulate people without concealed-carry permits," Palumbo said.
Municipalities also would be barred from prohibiting firearms on city streets or sidewalks, except in instances when streets are closed to traffic by municipalities for official events.
People with concealed-carry permits also would be allowed to carry firearms into recreational facilities as long as they securely store the weapon while using the facility.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said Tuesday he was disappointed but not surprised by the bill's passage in the Senate.
"Those folks are going to do whatever the [National Rifle Association] wants them to do," he said.
The bill now goes to the House of Delegates.