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Gun Advocates Seek More Rights in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The right to keep and bear arms is a controversial topic that's making its way through the West Virginia Legislature. A bill was introduced in the House Monday that would give gun owners more rights

“I'm not a gun enthusiast nor am I a gun owner, but it's important to me for those who are to have this right to enhance my own personal freedom," Delegate Larry Kump, (R) Berkeley County, said.

Kump supports a new bill that would increase gun owners' rights. For example, it would reduce the number of places where guns are prohibited.

"This bill, though complex and technical, provides a reasonable way for people who want to carry their concealed weapons to go into public buildings in a way that's not harmful to public safety and actually enhances it," Kump said.

"When seconds count, police are only minutes away," Attorney Jim Mullins said.

Mullins, a strong advocate for self-protection, says the current law from 1989 needs reloaded.

"If any of us let our house have 20 years of deferred maintenance, we would probably have to level it and build a new house," Mullins said.

Owning a gun doesn't come without responsibility, so the new law would set higher penalties for criminal misuse of firearms and other weapons.

"Most gun owners are saying, 'Instead of taking the right to self-defense away from me, how about you actually punish the criminals, put them in jail and keep them in jail?' " Keith Morgan with the West Virginia Citizens Defense League said.

Another issue this bill targets is being able to carry a concealed weapon over state lines. There are currently 21 states where a West Virginia concealed weapons license is not honored.

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