Ranson, WVCDL Alert: City Council Meeting July 1


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Bubbles
June 23, 2008, 09:00 AM
As we have reported here several times this week, the Ranson City Council is considering a full-frontal assault on our right to keep and bear arms and West Virginia’s municipal gun control preemption law in the form of a proposed ordinance that would prohibit the otherwise lawful carrying of a firearm on any city-owned property.

Yesterday, we sent city officials a 2-page letter detailing how their proposed ordinance violates the state preemption law and exposes law-abiding citizens to criminals who love nothing better than disarmed victims (a term many of us would consider redundant).

Now, we need YOU to take action.

The Ranson City Council meets Tuesday, July 1, 2008, at 7 PM at Ranson City Hall, located at 312 South Mildred Street in Ranson.

Mark your calendars and plan to be seen and heard. We must tell Ranson that we will NOT stand for ANY infringement of our rights. More importantly, we need to make a strong presence to show other municipalities that gun owners will not be treated like second-class citizens, anywhere, anytime.

We will provide more information, including links to driving directions, as this meeting approaches.

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Jim Mullins
President, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
Chairman, WVCDL-PAC
president@wvcdl.org
www.wvcdl.org
www.wvcdl-pac.org

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WVCDL-ALERT is a project of the West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (WVCDL), an all-volunteer, nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to the promotion of the individual?s fundamental human right to self-defense.

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siglite
June 24, 2008, 02:30 AM
woot!

http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/507941.html?nav=5006

Pressure scuttles gun ban
By Edward Marshall / Journal Staff Writer
POSTED: June 24, 2008
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RANSON — The Ranson City Council is expected to abandon efforts to pass a proposed ordinance that would ban firearms from city-owned property due to pressure from gun rights groups.

Groups such as the National Rifle Association and the West Virginia Citizens Defense League have sent letters to city officials decrying the proposed ordinance and have threatened to take action should the council attempt to pass it.

“I think it’s enough to say that we’ve heard from the interested parties — without being specific about who the interested parties are — and we feel that it is probably in our best judgment to forgo any further action relative to this situation,” Ranson Mayor A. David Hamill said Monday.

The proposed ordinance was brought up at the council’s last general meeting, but consideration of the ordinance was tabled because of concerns its wording might be too vague.

The intent of the proposal was to ban firearms from city-owned properties such as city-owned buildings and parks, but not within the entire city limits itself. The issue arose after an individual showed up with a gun about a month ago at a semipro football game at Ranson’s Charles C. Marcus Field. The man did have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but agreed to remove the gun from the public field.

“Our only interest was protecting those persons who are participating at public events. We did not realize the gravity of the situation. We’re neither pro- nor anti-gun, we’re just common law-abiding citizens just like everybody else,” Hamill said.

WVCDL President James M. Mullins Jr. said he believes the ordinance would prohibit law-abiding citizens from exercising their right to otherwise lawfully carry a firearm on city property.

Mullins, who is a third-year student the West Virginia University College of Law, said the state legislature passed a pre-emption law nine years ago to protect the rights of gun owners from a “confusing, patchwork quilt” of local gun laws more restrictive than state law.

“The legislature has established a strong public policy in this state favoring the right of ordinary citizens to be able to defend themselves, and has decided that the legislature — and only the legislature — will regulate when, where, how, or by whom a gun my be possessed, carried, transported, etc., in this state,” Mullins said in a letter he sent to the council.

Mullins called so-called “gun free zones” nothing more than “criminal protection zones” that offer law-abiding citizens a false sense of security while emboldening potential criminals who know that their intended victims are most likely to be defenseless.

“More than 20 years of experience have shown that individuals who choose to exercise their right to carry a weapon ... are not a danger to themselves or others,” Mullins said.

Hamill said he doubts that there will be support from the council to bring the ordinance back to the table, adding he believed City Attorney Andrew Blake is drafting a letter to the NRA and WVDL to inform them they do not anticipate taking further action on the ordinance.



—Staff writer Edward Marshall can be reached at (304) 725-6581, or emarshall@journal-news.net'>emarshall@journal-news.net

Bubbles
June 24, 2008, 11:43 AM
Good. Now we need to go after Martinsburg's ordinance. I'm trying to find out when it was passed.

siglite
June 24, 2008, 04:33 PM
Good. Now we need to go after Martinsburg's ordinance. I'm trying to find out when it was passed.

We're planning to go after all kinds of municipal bans/issues while the Legislature's out of session. I believe Jim mentioned something about Martinsburg. I do not believe they were grandfathered. Would you mind passing any info you dig up to me via PM, or even to Jim via email? He's jmullins at wvcdl dot org.

ffxmike
June 24, 2008, 04:45 PM
Good. Now we need to go after Martinsburg's ordinance. I'm trying to find out when it was passed.

Can I ask what the martinsburg ordinance is? I'm up there fairly often, but have never carried in WV apart from on a friends property while doing renovations.

siglite
June 24, 2008, 05:27 PM
I found a reference to Martinsburg's ban, but I haven't seen the actual ordinance. The ban is referenced here in the original article alerting us of the Ranson City ban:

http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/507780.html?nav=5006

Gun ban ordinance for public property considered in Ranson
Edward Marshall / Journal staff writer
POSTED: June 18, 2008
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RANSON — The first reading and discussion of a new ordinance in the city of Ranson that would prohibit firearms and weapons on public property was tabled at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting after concerns were raised by the city’s police chief that the wording of the new ordinance may be too vague.

The issue arose after an individual showed up at a semi-pro football game at Ranson’s Charles C. Marcus Field with a gun about a month ago.

“A fellow showed up at a recreational event and apparently he or she had a gun and frankly we did not have the means by which to, no law saying they couldn’t have a gun,” Mayor A. David Hamill said.

The man did have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but agreed to remove the gun from the public field. The council now wants to enact an ordinance that would allow the city to prohibit people from carrying firearms on public property owned by the city. The point, Hamill said, is that the council does not want people to carry weapons at public functions within the city.

“The state code allows you to pass an ordinance like this but you have to have an ordinance in order to enforce it,” said city attorney Andy Blake, who drafted the proposed ordinance.

It’s the same type of ordinance that Blake wrote for the city of Martinsburg that is now enforced. The ordinance itself uses the same exact language as the state code but the phrase “government entities” was replaced with the “city of Ranson.”

“We don’t want to have guns around our kids,” Councilman Scott Coulter said.

Ranson Police Chief William Roper said his only concern was that the ordinance does not define what public property the weapons would be banned from.

“Route 115 and 13th Avenue are public property. Are we banning it from that?” Roper asked.

Blake said that when he wrote the ordinance, the intent was to prohibit weapons and firearms in public facilities, public buildings, structures, parks and other properties owned by the city of Ranson, but not on sidewalks or within the city limits.

“Would it benefit from identifying those areas?” Roper asked. “My guys might enforce it when it is not supposed to be.”

The council later agreed to table discussion on the ordinance so it could be reviewed further. Blake said he would meet with Roper to discuss the ordinance.

“All I’m asking is that it (public property) be identified,” Roper said.



— Staff writer Edward Marshall can be reached at (304) 725-6581, or emarshall@journal-news.net

Emphasis mine.

moga
June 24, 2008, 07:08 PM
RANSON — The Ranson City Council is expected to abandon efforts to pass a proposed ordinance that would ban firearms from city-owned property due to pressure from gun rights groups.

Groups such as the National Rifle Association and the West Virginia Citizens Defense League have sent letters to city officials decrying the proposed ordinance and have threatened to take action should the council attempt to pass it.

Sig, how much involvement did the NRA have in this situation? I wonder, because the NRA is always mentioned by name in the local press here before the grass roots group in Georgia every time an advancement in Amendment II interests is accomplished, irrespective of whether they ever helped with the effort, which is very seldom as far as I can tell. I was curious if the same held true in this case.

siglite
June 24, 2008, 09:13 PM
Sig, how much involvement did the NRA have in this situation?

We honestly have no idea. I think it's safe to say that the NRA did not discuss it with us. Our first knowledge of the NRA's involvement came at the same time as everyone else's. Via media reports.

But I know that the same people who brought this to our attention, also contacted the NRA. And I'm glad they did. The NRA wields a lot of weight. So any correspondence from the NRA will get a municipal government's attention.

However, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I'm running on the assumption that Jim Mullins (WVCDL) is 95-100% responsible for Ranson's rather wise decision not to violate WV's preemption.

Bubbles
June 25, 2008, 10:28 AM
But I know that the same people who brought this to our attention, also contacted the NRA.

Actually I was the person mentioned by name in the WVCDL Alert as the one who send the first Journal News article to Jim. I didn't send it to the NRA as the local outcry seemed to be convincing Ranson to back down. :)

If/when I find out anything about when Martinsburg enacted its ordinance, I will pass it along. The only visible indication I've seen of it are the "No Guns" signs on the doors to the courthouse, tax assessor's and planning offices (where you go to do your personal property tax), etc. When I saw the signs I thought it was a state ordinance, like the one prohibiting carry at the DMV, and not a local one, as I'm relatively new to the state.

siglite
June 25, 2008, 12:24 PM
I stand corrected! And now I'm even more curious about the NRA's involvement. But not too much. If they helped, great! It doesn't really matter in the end. What does matter in the end is that Ranson City's made the right choice.

We're working on the DMV signs too. Those carry the same force of law (or lack thereof) as any private business which posts their property. I'm not saying or recommending that one should carry past them, but it's of interest that the DMV carry ban is not a legislative ban. It is a policy decision internal to the DMV. And Jim's been corresponding with the appropriate folks over there.

Bubbles
June 25, 2008, 12:34 PM
We're working on the DMV signs too. Those carry the same force of law (or lack thereof) as any private business which posts their property. I'm not saying or recommending that one should carry past them, but it's of interest that the DMV carry ban is not a legislative ban. It is a policy decision internal to the DMV. And Jim's been corresponding with the appropriate folks over there.

Thanks for the information. That's good to know.

siglite
June 25, 2008, 06:44 PM
It appears we're still on for Ranson on 7/1. We still need a strong showing of support there.

Bubbles
June 26, 2008, 10:17 AM
My husband and I plan on being in Ranson on the 1st. From the latest WVCDL Alert:

1. WVCDL TO APPEAR AT NEXT WEEK’S RANSON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

Yesterday, we learned that Ranson city leaders decided to drop their plans for an ordinance to ban carrying on city-owned property, in violation of West Virginia’s municipal gun control preemption law. We are keeping our plans to attend the July 1, 2008, city council meeting—this time to say “Thank You!” to officials who saw the light after we contacted them in opposition to their earlier proposal. The City Council will meet at 7 PM at Ranson City Hall. Ranson City Hall is located at 312 South Mildred Street in Ranson. A map and driving directions are available at tinyurl.com/58l9yg

Let’s have a strong turnout and show not just Ranson but other local governments in the Eastern Panhandle that gun owners are serious about protecting our rights and enforcing West Virginia’s preemption law!


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2. MARTINSBURG IS VIOLATING THE PREEMPTION LAW, HAS ILLEGAL CITY PROPERTY GUN BAN!

The City of Martinsburg is violating West Virginia’s preemption law!

We learned last week in the Martinsburg Journal article that alerted us to the proposed Ranson gun ban that Martinsburg has a similar ordinance and promised that we would investigate.

Since 2005, Martinsburg City Code § 545.14 has provided as follows:

(a) No person shall carry or possess a firearm or other deadly weapon, whether carried openly or concealed, on any public property or in any building owned, leased or under the care, custody and control of the City of Martinsburg or any political subdivision of the City of Martinsburg.

(b) No provision of this section shall apply to those persons set forth in Section 545.03 (c) to (f) while such persons are acting in an official capacity, provided, however, that under no circumstances may any person possess or carry or cause the possession or carrying of any firearm or other deadly weapon on the premises of any primary or secondary educational facility in this State unless such person is a law enforcement officer or he or she has the express written permission of the County School Superintendent.

(c) Any person carrying or possessing a firearm or other deadly weapon on any public property or in any building owned, leased or under the care, custody and control of the City of Martinsburg or any political subdivision of the City of Martinsburg who refuses to temporarily relinquish possession of such firearm or other deadly weapon, upon being requested to do so, or to leave such premises, while in possession of such firearm or other deadly weapon, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) for each offense and, in the discretion of the Police Court Judge, may be placed in jail for a term not to exceed thirty (30) days, or both.

We just received a copy of this ordinance today and are planning our course of action.

The Martinsburg City Council (www.martinsburg.com/city/cty.ccil.html) meets on the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM.

siglite
June 30, 2008, 06:12 PM
BTT - Reminder for tomorrow's meeting. We need a strong showing at the Ranson City Council meeting. A strong showing will send a strong message to Martinsburg, who apparently shares a city attorney with Ranson.

It is at 7PM at Ranson City Hall, 312 South Mildred Street in Ranson.

Hope to see you there.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ranson, WVCDL Alert: City Council Meeting July 1" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!