This past Saturday saw the adjournment of the 2012 legislative session and with it came good news for NRA members across the Mountaineer State, as three NRA-backed bills are now headed to the Governor for his approval.
Senate Bill 149, introduced by state Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D-16), would mandate police authorities return all seized firearms, not currently being held as evidence in a criminal investigation, to the lawful owner if able. If the lawful owner is not found or unable to take possession of the firearm, SB 149 would require these agencies to sell these firearms at a public auction to a licensed firearms dealer. Current West Virginia law allows for seized guns to be immediately destroyed. SB 149 would prevent the wasteful and expensive practice of destroying firearms that could be re-circulated through licensed dealers to the retail market.
Senate Bill 353, introduced by state Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-2) and Senate Majority Leader Unger, would expedite the process of purchasing a firearm for valid concealed carry permit holders by making West Virginia eligible for an exemption from the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Such carry permit holders have already cleared a background check. This legislation would further conform state law to federal law and lead to greater reciprocity for permit holders throughout the United States.
Senate Bill 478, also sponsored by state Senator Unger, would create an apprentice hunting license that is available to West Virginia residents and non-residents alike. The licenses established pursuant to SB 478 are similar to current youth hunting licenses but would be available to apprentice hunters of any age. Apprentice hunters will be encouraged to go afield while under the supervision of a person eighteen years of age or older who possesses a valid West Virginia hunting license. This would allow the “apprentice” to be introduced to hunting without having to take the otherwise required hunter education course.
This license would allow supervised, novice hunters to go afield for three hunting seasons within any five consecutive year window of time without having to take a required hunter education course. The NRA worked closely with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources on this important legislation and its efforts to sustain and enhance the time-honored tradition of hunting are appreciated.
Please contact Governor Earl Ray Tomblin TODAY and respectfully urge him to sign into law SB 149, SB 353 and SB 478. You can contact Governor Tomblin by using the online contact form found here.