However, he said harsh comments from Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, and newspaper editorials critical of that bill caused a backlash among members.
"When the mayor and city council calls us idiots and says it's unwise ... all it does is infuriate the rest of you to vote against Charleston," Hunt said, adding, "I'm not going to have the opportunity today to protect the Charleston city council, and there's not votes in the House to protect them."
Proponents of the bill, which would nullify Charleston's ordinance limiting handgun purchases to one per person per month and imposing a 72-hour waiting period, said the ordinance punishes law-abiding gun owners.
Several cited the city's new Cabela's hunting and fishing superstore. Delegate Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie, held up his Cabela's credit card during his floor speech, noting that if he used the bonus points earned on his card to buy a handgun, he would have to make a second trip to the store in three days to pick it up.
Delegate Justin Marcum, D-Mingo, said that is a particular inconvenience for his constituents who shop in Charleston.
"That's a long drive back down Corridor G for law-abiding citizens," he said.
In a statement following the vote, Mayor Jones said he was disappointed the House floor debate focused on Charleston's handgun ordinance, noting "the bill does much more than that."
The legislation gives local governments 90 days after its effective date to repeal all city or county firearms regulations. After 90 days, any existing ordinances would become null and void.
Jones also took umbrage at Hunt's comments. In a prepared statement, the mayor said, "Listening to the debate on the House floor today, I was taken aback by Delegate Mark Hunt and his remarks inferring that members of Charleston city council and the mayor called him an 'idiot.' I do not know if Delegate Hunt is an idiot. Perhaps Delegate Hunt can verify when I called him an idiot or when any member of council called him an idiot."
Voting against the bill Monday were Delegates Guthrie, Poore, and Danny Wells, all D-Kanawha, and Delegate Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson. Delegates Ron Fragale, D-Harrison, and Daniel Poling, D-Wood, were absent.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.