CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The House of Delegates amended a measure expanding the Home Rule Pilot Program so that it included restrictions on city gun ordinances.
The program provides a city with more local control when it comes to taxes, regulations and other governing procedures.
The change to the bill means cities that would like to join the pilot program or continue to participate in the program can only do so if they eliminate any local gun laws. There is an exception for local laws restricting guns in municipal buildings.
Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, proposed the change. Originally he planned to include all of the parameters of a bill the House passed earlier in the session that voided all city gun ordinances.
Lane said late Tuesday he backed away from that change to alleviate concerns of some fellow delegates.
The House approved the amendment by voice vote. Delegate Danny Wells, D-Kanawha, was among a vocal minority who opposed the change.
He also opposed House Bill 2760, the bill calling for uniform gun laws that eliminated city measures. Charleston has two such laws: it restricts handgun purchases to one per month, and it requires a 72-hour waiting period after the purchase of a handgun.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones vehemently opposed the measure, saying his city's laws help increase safety. He's also a proponent of the Home Rule program, having participated for the last several years in the pilot.
Tuesday afternoon Jones said he had not reviewed the changes to the bill yet and therefore didn't want to talk about it.
A special committee devoted to home rule in Charleston met Wednesday evening.