CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston City Councilman Tom Lane lashed out against state lawmakers for changes to a bill that would nullify the city's gun control ordinance and said he is willing to sue the state as a private citizen to fight the measure.
Speaking at Monday's council meeting, Lane, an at-large Republican, called the recent actions of lawmakers "hubris and arrogance" when they changed a bill extending the state's home rule program to wipe out local laws dealing with guns.
Lane was the architect of Charleston's gun ordinance that passed in the early 1990s that will be nullified if the city participates in the new home rule program. Language inserted during the recent session says any city that participates in the program must drop all gun ordinances.
"I have never been more distressed by the actions of the legislators," Lane said.
During a previous interview, Lane had stated he was willing to fight the new measure, saying it is unconstitutional for laws to have two purposes.
The new bill has two purposes -- expanding home rule and nullifying city gun ordinances, Lane said.
But after Lane's previous interview, Mayor Danny Jones pointed out that the city couldn't sue the Legislature because Charleston is a subdivision of the state. The city would essentially be suing itself, Jones said.
Though he stressed now is not the time for the fight, Lane said he would be willing to file suit against the state personally and not as a council member.
Charleston has until June 1, 2014, to decide whether to continue with the home rule program. Cities wanting to participate in the new program must repeal their gun ordinances 90 days after the June 1 date, Lane said.
Lane said it might be "premature" to file suit now because there will be another legislative session before the 2014 deadline.
"There will be plenty of time to challenge (the bill)," he said.
The ordinance prohibits people from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period. The city also requires a three-day waiting period on any handgun purchase as well as a background check.