Charleston Mayor Speaks Out Against Gun Bill

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Mayor Danny Jones is making his concerns about a recently passed gun bill very public.

The legislation allows concealed weapons in places like recreation centers that house daycares and head start programs.

Jones is even threatening to put a warning sign up if the bill is signed into law.

On one side of Charleston's Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, dozens of children are being read a book.

"Technically, we think this is a school," said Charleston Mayor, Danny Jones.

But a new gun bill surging through the state legislature could mean people with concealed carry permits can bring a gun right in, though the weapons would have to be locked up.

"It's not appropriate to open up our community centers and our pools in the Charleston civic centers for people to be bringing in weapons," said Rev. Matthew Watts.

Like many opponents, Mayor Jones agrees. "We don't need guns here and we don't want guns here," said Mayor Jones.

Tuesday morning, the Mayor talked outside of the community center.

He held a sample "warning sign" he said could be on display if the bill does become law.

"It's a felony to carry a gun in a school yet the legislature wants us to provide lockers for people to carry guns in here," said Mayor Jones.

The Mayor said there's a conflict in the new law and the current felony offense for schools, and that also raises concerns for community members.

"We've read this legislation as insensitive at best, but also borderlines on being irresponsible and somewhat reckless," said Rev. Watts.

People who visit the center said this change could hurt the center's impact.

"Parents that are worried about the safety of their children, aren't going to allow them to come to these facilities, so yet again, our community loses out on fellowship and other opportunities," said Obi Henderson.

They worry guns could jeopardize the future of much-needed centers like this one.

Opponents said they're concerned about mistakes that could happen if guns are allowed in.

They also said while this bill could work in some parts of the state, it wouldn't work in urban areas that struggle with gun violence each day.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones also told WSAZ.com if the bill is signed into law, the city will file an injunction in court to try and stop it.


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