CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Mayor Danny Jones seems resigned to the fact that the city's 20-year-old gun ordinance will soon be nullified.
The state Legislature passed a measure expanding and extending the home rule program during the session. Now, any city participating in home rule will have to drop all gun ordinances.
Jones, other city leaders and community activists held a press conference on the Capitol steps Thursday morning decrying the measure.
Jones admitted there was little that could be done to fight it. He said city council could opt not to participate in home rule.
"But it really doesn't matter, because if we don't participate they (Legislature) will take our ordinance away next January," he said.
Jones said the city could also ask Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to veto the bill, but such a request would likely be unsuccessful.
The Rev. James Ealy, a Democrat representing a West Side ward, said the worst thing Charleston residents could do is stay silent about the matter.
"We have to take a stand," Ealy said.
The home rule bill gives cities more power to tax and regulate issues. The pilot program was initiated five years ago.
Charleston, Wheeling, Huntington and Bridgeport all became home rule cities under the pilot program. Charleston now wants to use its home rule powers to pass a half-cent sales tax.
The pilot program expires June 30. It has been expanded by the Legislature, and if city leaders chose to do so, Charleston could continue the program.
Jones said the decision to amend the bill to force cities to drop gun ordinances was "bad public policy."