"But you're also usurping a county's ability to meet the needs of its citizens and create a situation that's as safe as possible," he said.
Supporters of House Bill 2760 say the bill creates a uniform set of laws for the entire state. The bill does not preempt any statewide firearms laws.
Keith Morgan, president of the West Virginia Citizen's Defense League, has been watching the bill closely, and is familiar with its provisions. The Citizen's Defense League did not write House Bill 2760, but is actively lobbying for the measure.
Morgan said cities and counties would still be able to enforce state gun laws under the provision.
"If somebody is up [at Yeager Airport] brandishing or threatening or otherwise committing crimes with a firearm, those are state laws, and [airport police] can arrest them" for those crimes, Morgan said.
Morgan said the existing county ordinance prohibiting guns at the airport does little to stop crime. "Do they really think a county ordinance will stop somebody intent on murder or hijacking?" he said.
The state Senate has yet to vote on their own version of the bill, which remains in committee.
Carper said he doesn't know if the House of Delegates thought through all the ramifications of House Bill 2760 before passing the measure.
Delegate Rupert Phillips, D-Logan, was the bill's major sponsor. He said the intent of the bill was not to do away with all firearm regulation. Phillips said state laws prohibiting guns in schools and other public places remain in place, and other firearms crimes are covered under state statute.
"Those will stay the same," he said.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.