Dedication

This website is devoutly dedicated to all of Larry's friends and associates, both early and late, who have influenced and mentored him. However, it also should be noted that, being who they are, a majority of them have been late most of the time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

County Prosecutor Wants Gun Law

Notice to Website Readers: Please see below and advise me of your specific thoughts and suggestions regarding Ms. Neely's proposal. [Delegate John Doyle (D-Jefferson County) has advised Ms. Neely that she is "absolutely correct".]

-----Forwarded Message-----
From: Delegate Larry D. Kump
Sent: Oct 25, 2011 3:27 PM
To: Berkeley County Prosecutor pneely@berkeleywv.org

Pam,
I am aware of the situation and circumstances, but not comfortable further restricting the rights of gun owners by making it even more of a crime to carry a registered weapon.
However, I will study the law to see if the entire law can be made clearer, but also less assumptive in the restriction of our Second Amendment rights.

Delegate Larry D. Kump

Original Message:
-----------------
From: Pam Neely pneely@berkeleywv.org
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 15:15:32 -0400
Subject:Statutory issue that needs modification


Dear Members of the Legislature and the Senate:

It is has come to the attention of my office that there is a statute which has created some unintended consequences. Almost every educational facility in this state has a written preclusion against the carrying of firearms on their property either by handbook or posting. Often both methods are used. We recently had an incident in Berkeley County, which caused a serious concern about West Virginia Code 61-7-11a. Under West Virginia Code 61-7-11a, it appears to be a crime to carry a firearm onto educational property, but only if it is a "primary" or "secondary"educational facility. It does include "vocational" but only as it related to secondary education. There is no exception for a person with a concealed weapon permit, but law enforcement officers are excepted. The statute excepts the Mountaineer. The higher education statutes have an exception for campus police to carry firearms. Not all schools however have police or a police presence.

The problem we encountered is that a student was carrying a weapon, with a concealed weapon permit, onto a college/technical school campus. He frightened several students and faculty who saw the weapon. Because the statutory language for educational facility does not include language for "post-secondary" "post-secondary vocational or technical" "community or junior college" or "other institutions of higher learning" as is defined under the educational definitions in West Virginia we could not charge that felony. (There may also need to be an exception for a gunsmithing school, a hunter education class, or concealed weapon class, and even perhaps an ROTC class or a military school-some of which do not currently exist in this state). This is very troubling especially in light of the incident at Virginia Tech.

I am a very strong supporter of the second amendment, but there must be some common sense applied here. I can think of nothing worse than people attending an athletic event, living in a dorm, or sitting beside someone in a science class with a firearm strapped to their side or worse, concealed on their person. What happens if that student, parent or other person suddenly becomes angry at the score, the roommate, the party, or even the call on the field? While the use of a firearm may be criminal, so should the presence at this type of facility. I believe this was the intent of the Legislature because of the exception for a college mascot, but the language says otherwise. Let us not have a tragedy on our hands. As a parent of college students, I do not think I should have to worry about making sure they have their books, clothes, laptop and now a 45 caliber weapon in an educational
setting. This statutory error puts higher education students, faculty and administration at risk. Most people have enough sense not to do this, but obviously we have those who do not.

Please address this error as soon as possible and add the words: " post secondary" "post-secondary vocational or technical" "or other institutions of higher learning" to West Virginia Code 61-7-11a. Make an exception for a gunsmithing school, a hunter education or concealed weapon class, a military
school only as it related to official firearms training or classes and ROTC only as to an official firearms training class (actual firing should be on a license or approved range).

I would be more than happy to help write the changes, if one or all of you would push it.

Thank you.

Sincerely

Pamela Jean Games-Neely

Prosecuting Attorney Berkeley County

5 comments:

  1. As a Republican, Mrs. Neely should know better on this issue.

    Hopefully, she can be educated and come around to a proper understanding on gun carry rights of law-abiding citizens, and why it is actually needed for at least some law-abiding citizens to carry their legally-owned sidearms when in public places.

    If not, I would like to contribute to the campaign of her opponent in the next primary election. (I assume she holds an elected position, not appointed.)

    If she's unopposed (within the Republican party) so far, then I hope your county Republican party officers can recruit someone else to run for the position.

    -An observer in Indiana.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Larry,
    I guess my main question would be, does she realize she would be safer having college students be able to carry concealed. If a student was armed during the VA Tech shooting, maybe less would have had to die. Changing the law will not keep a troubled student from bringing a firearm onto campus, but it may allow for more deaths if there is nobody there that can stop a shooter.
    Would Columbine have turned out differently some of the teachers were able to carry?

    Everyone I know that has their concealed carry permit does not take the privilege it lightly. When we strap that weapon to ourselves we are saying that we will do what it takes to keep myself and family secure, even if that means having to take another's life to stay alive. This act could land us in jail and possibly having to endure a trial.

    This student that was allowing his piece to be seen, needs to rethink how he conceals his weapon. If that many people were seeing it, it almost sounds like this would fall under brandishing.

    These are just a few of the ideas that came to mind after reading the letter to you.

    Under the second amendment we shouldn't even need a permit, but over time we have allowed our rights to be taken away a little bit at a time. I think this person would be shocked if she knew how many people she's around that carry a concealed weapon everyday? and may I add, without incident.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mr. Kump,

    As a resident of Berkeley County, in Marlowe, I thank you for your succint and appropriate reply to Ms. Games-Neely. I have been quite happy with her performance thus far in her duties as prosecuting attorney. However, in this case I feel that she has overstepped her bounds by suggesting that those who choose to exercise their right to concealed carry are somehow more reckless or dangerous because they choose to do so. Suggesting that a CCW permit holder would be likely to use their firearm to do anything other than defend their own life is an irresponsible scare tactic.

    Any person who would be so reckless with a firearm would certainly not honor any law on the books. To suggest that a responsible firearm owner would react to a bad call at a sporting event by pulling and using their firearm is an insult to the intelligence and responsibility that legal carry supporters demonstrate on a daily basis.

    I am on the other side of the argument, suggesting that a CCW permit holder shouldn't be in violation of the law when they want to pick their child up at a public school. In order to pick a child up at school a CCW permit holder has to either drive home and store their firearm or risk leaving it locked in the car which is still a crime. This shouldn't be. These people don't suddenly become less responsible when they step out of the street and into a parking lot.

    Thank you for voicing your opinion, and reflecting your support for the right to carry.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can think of nothing worse than people attending an athletic event, living in a dorm, or sitting beside someone in a science class with a firearm strapped to their side or worse, concealed on their person.

    How about Virginia Tech, where none of the people who followed the rules could do anything about one violent lunatic--and the lunatic knew it ahead of time? To me that is much worse than someone doing a negligent job of concealed carry.

    We have had years, and in some states decades of experience to show that concealed carry license holders don't shoot at the referee over a bad call.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I totally agree with the view of the WVCDL and I wholeheartedly support the 2nd amendment. I will be one of those who will in protest on Nov. 18th in Martinsburg.

    ReplyDelete

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