The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

April 2, 2013

Senate passes gun rights legislation

CHARLESTON — Gun rights legislation seldom triggers any opposition in the West Virginia Senate, and one was approved Monday in easy fashion.

The idea is to expand the number of states in which West Virginia’s concealed handgun licenses are recognized by abandoning certain requirements in existing law that other states must meet.

Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kana-wha, said SB369 also drops a stipulation that West Virginia and other states have a written agreement and makes that an option since some jurisdictions yet require it.

The bill was sponsored by Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley.

While the Senate can act on House bills up until the gavel falls on this session, another firearms proposal — one that has generated the most attention — remains dormant in the Senate Government Organization Committee.

Only four delegates voted against it in the House, but controversy flared two weeks ago when Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, whose government organization committee would take it up first, told reporters he had been issued a death threat.

The anonymous threat suggested Snyder would never get out of Charles-ton if he refused to consider the bill in his committee.

Asked about this, Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, denounced intimidation of lawmakers and indicated the bill had little chance of reaching the Senate floor.

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The Senate breezed through a number of bills, including SB533, which retools the language for domestic battery and assault so the two offenses are consistent by definition with federal statutes, Palumbo explained.

Senators also approved SB569, meaning the governor’s appointee to serve as fire marshal would have to be approved by the Senate.

Ways of finding money to develop new roads and maintain existing ones would be sought in SB354.

Finance Chairman Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, said the bill requires the highways commissioner to launch a study of alternative revenue sources.

The commissioner would be obligated to make recommendations to the Legislature by Jan. 31, Prezioso noted.

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