The chart seemingly indicates there is a significantly higher violent crime rate in Charleston than in other parts of the state or nation. It shows data back to 1985, before the city gun laws were in effect. It also indicates Charleston's murder rate is higher than the rate across the state or country since 2007.
Hunt said the data are from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The National Rifle Association provided him with the chart, he said.
The Daily Mail had received a copy of the chart earlier in the week. It does cite the FBI as a source but does not say how it was obtained from the agency. It also does not include units to verify that the numbers represented in the chart are actually rates and not a different measure.
Joseph Ciccarelli, supervisory senior resident agent with the Charleston office of the FBI, said Thursday he was not aware of the specific chart or the debate about the local gun laws. But he does know the bureau tracks such information, and he said he has seen data that indicate crime rates are higher in Charleston and southern West Virginia.
"I have looked at it in the past. There have been times when the crime rate in West Virginia was higher than in some major cities in the United States," Ciccarelli said.
In 2010, West Virginians were killed by guns at a higher rate than people living in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New York and many other states with large urban centers, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For every 100,000 people in West Virginia, 14.1 were killed by a firearm that year, according to the most recent data available. It was 14.2 for Washington, D.C.
The House-passed bill was sent across the hall, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, has said he doesn't like it.
Hunt said he thought the bill probably would be changed in the Senate. The change could include an exemption for Charleston, he said.
"As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it does. And at that point, I would certainly vote to protect Charleston's ordinance," Hunt said.
He didn't get to vote on any exemption last week, however. Those in favor of uniform gun laws had to vote for the bill in front of the House, Hunt said.
Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, asked for Hunt's comments to be included in the official record. Boone County Republican Josh Nelson thanked Hunt for his words and for "standing up for the Constitution, regardless of any mayor's refusal to do so."
In his statement, Jones said Hunt is an "inside man" with House leadership because he chairs a committee. It's hard to compete with legislative power, he said.
"While I feel compelled to speak out about legislation that adversely affects my city, I realize I am no match for Speaker Thompson, Chairman Hunt or any member of the very powerful House leadership team — certainly not in the House Chamber when the Legislature is in session," Jones said.
More than 30 bills have been introduced this legislative session that deal with gun control.