From: Delegate Larry D. Kump
Sent: Oct 25, 2011 3:27 PM
To: Berkeley County Prosecutor firstname.lastname@example.org
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
From: Pam Neely email@example.com
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.
Pamela Jean Games-Neely
Prosecuting Attorney Berkeley County