West Virginia Citizens Defense League Files Suit Challenging Charleston, South Charleston & Dunbar Gun Control Ordinances
Charleston, W.Va. --(Ammoland.com)- This morning, the West Virginia Citizens Defense League, 4 individual WVCDL members, and a Kanawha County gun dealer filed a 40-count civil complaint in U.S. District Court challenging the constitutionality of numerous gun control ordinances in the cities of Charleston, South Charleston, and Dunbar.
Represented by Beckley-based attorney Jim Mullins, WVCDL and the other plaintiffs are seeking to block ongoing enforcement of separate ordinances in the cities of Charleston, South Charleston, and Dunbar that prohibit carrying handguns on certain city-owned property and a series of ordinances in Charleston that impose severe restrictions on the sale, rental, and other transfers of handguns.
In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege that each of the challenged ordinances violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment to the West Virginia Constitution, various federal statutes, and West Virginia state law limiting the powers of municipal governments.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Jim Mullins said: WVCDL and its individual members who have stepped forward today to bring this case are committed to vindicating the right of every law-abiding citizen to keep and bear arms for self-defense and other lawful purposes.
No criminal or deranged lunatic is going to be deterred from committing a crime on public property by the prospect of a whopping 30 extra days in jail for violating a municipal ordinance prohibiting guns on city property. Neither will a criminal wait while his intended victim goes through the 3-day waiting period Charleston imposes on buying a handgun. And if you happened to have bought a handgun recently but it was stolen? Well, that same criminal also won’t wait for you to become eligible to purchase another handgun under Charleston’s one handgun per month gun rationing ordinance.
If any or all of the defendants choose at some point to see the light and change their ways, my clients are more than willing to settle with any city that agrees to completely repeal its respective ordinances and fully honor not only my clients’-but every West Virginian’s-right to keep and bear arms. My clients hope that the cities of Charleston, South Charleston, and Dunbar will not waste their taxpayers’ money to defend their indefensible ordinances.
However, along with bringing this case today, WVCDL has drafted and expects to soon have introduced in the Legislature a bill, the West Virginia Gun Owner Protection Act of 2011, that comprehensively revises West Virginia’s gun laws expands the rights of law-abiding gun owners and increases the penalties for the criminal misuse of firearms and other weapons. If the Legislature passes WVCDL’s proposed West Virginia Gun Owner Protection Act of 2011, West Virginia would have a much stronger state preemption law that would provide additional grounds for the plaintiffs in this case to prevail without the need for the extensive, expensive, time-consuming litigation that will follow if the status quo remains.
For the last 3 years, WVCDL-authored bills to strengthen the state preemption law and prevent the need for this lawsuit have been introduced in the Legislature but have gone nowhere. Unless and until the Legislature acts, this lawsuit is the only viable remedy my clients have to defend their legal rights.
If the cities of Charleston, South Charleston, and Dunbar refuse to see the error of their ways and the Legislature does nothing to reign in their abuses of power, WVCDL and the other plaintiffs in this case are prepared to litigate this case to its ultimate conclusion, whatever it may be, whenever it may be. We sincerely hope this is a point we do not reach.
Today, as WVCDL and its members begin the potentially long journey to justice, they hope the residents and taxpayers of the cities of Charleston, South Charleston, and Dunbar will call upon their elected leaders to do the right thing. More importantly, WVCDL and its members hope the people of West Virginia will open their eyes to the abuses that are occurring in the Kanawha Valley and demand that their delegates and state senators take action now and not leave their Second Amendment rights solely at the mercy of courts that may take years to ultimately decide this case and others like it.
WVCDL is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, all-volunteer, grassroots organization of concerned West Virginians who support our individual right to keep and bear arms for defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use, as protected by the state constitution and the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. WVCDL is the largest, active, West Virginia-based gun rights organization.
The West Virginia Citizens Defense League (WVCDL) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, all-volunteer, grassroots organization of concerned West Virginians who support our individual right to keep and bear arms for defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use, as protected by the state constitution and the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Visit: www.wvcdl.org