Gun rights advocates in Charleston, WV won a bit of a battle with the city recently when a judge ruled that yes, those with a valid concealed carry permit could carry firearms into city-owned recreation centers, despite a city ordinance to the contrary. The ordinance was passed in 1993, but in 2014 the state passed a law that superseded the local ordinance so long as guns were “securely (stored) out of view.”
Charleston city officials then went back to court, arguing that the city had no way to provide a “secure” place to store a concealed weapon, and saying concealed weapons should remain banned from city recreation centers because they were used for school functions.
It remains illegal under state law to carry a gun, concealed or not, on school property.
In a 14-page ruling signed Sept. 21, Stuckey said concealed weapons were prohibited in any city-owned recreation center that is leased by a local school board, and where after-school programs or other school activities are held.
However, he said concealed weapons could not be banned from city-owned recreation centers that were not leased by a school board as long as the guns were kept concealed on the gun owner’s person or in a purse or gym bag. Stuckey also ruled that the concealed weapon could be locked in a locker, although he said the city was not obligated to provide lockers or locks.
This is an important win, not just for gun rights but for public safety.
While anti-gun advocates like to see every new place declared off-limits as a victory for the safety of the public, it’s actually the contrary. A concealed firearm on someone’s person is rarely even noticed, much less used. Meanwhile, if a place is off-limits, the individual concealed carry holder now has to lock his firearm up in his vehicle in order to enter.
Guess what happens to cars from time to time?
That’s right. They get broken into. If a criminal finds a firearm in a vehicle they broke into, you know they’re going to take it. It’s one of the preferred things to steal, period.
This puts that gun, one originally owned by a law-abiding citizen who went to great lengths to adhere to the law, is now in the hands of the very people both anti-gun and pro-gun advocates alike want to be disarmed.
The West Virginia Citizens Defense League, who filed the lawsuit, may not have looked at it that way, but I do. As such, their victory isn’t just a win for gun rights in West Virginia, but also for public safety in the surrounding region. That means fewer opportunities for lawfully owned guns to be stolen and used against innocent people.
I don’t care who you are, that should count as a great big win. Too bad people like Shannon Watts and Mikey Bloomberg are out there who refuse to see anything but complete and total disarmament of the law abiding civilian as a good thing.
Luckily, most of us don’t really care what they think about much of anything, anyway.