UPDATE: W.Va. Gov. Justice signs 'parked guns' legislation

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP/WSAZ/MetroNews) -- UPDATE 3/23/18 @ 11:51 a.m.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has signed a bill that would allow people to keep firearms locked in their vehicles while parked on their employer's property.

It's billed as the 'Business Liability Protection Act'.

Lawmakers passed House Bill 4187 on the final day of the legislative session.

The bill also provides immunity for the employer if anyone brings a legal action because of the weapon.

The National Rifle Association supports this bill, saying in part "the fundamental right to self-defense should not stop simply because you park your car".

Schools will still remain gun-free zones under this new legislation, however.



UPDATE 3/12/18 @ 5:42 p.m.
It’s billed as the ‘Business Liability Protection Act’, legislation that is now heading to the Governor’s desk permitting legal gun owners to have a firearm in their parked car.

It’s praised by the NRA as a victory for personal protection, but many in the business community say it restricts a company’s rights.

Roughly 400 meals a day are served at the soup kitchen at St. John’s Episcopal Church. People go in and out all day, but there’s a strict policy.

"No weapons of any kind on premises here,” explained Executive Director Tara Martinez with Manna Meal.

The church does not allow weapons anywhere on its property. But that could change if a new bill is signed into law.

“We have individuals that may take that to a different level if they are allowed to carry a weapon on premises,” Martinez said.

The bill, which passed both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature, would allow employees and visitors to leave guns in their locked vehicles.

It’s not just the soup kitchen concerned, so are many in the business community. The West Virginia Manufacturers Association is worried about “the inability of our companies to regulate their own property.” The President of the Association tells WSAZ they do not oppose 2nd Amendment rights, but this bill prevents companies from setting policies they feel are important for the safety of their employees.

Others believe you can’t have enough protection.

“I mean a lot of these shootings going on, if there was somebody else around that had a firearm to stop it you'd have a lot less people dead,” said Bradford Bailey.

The National Rifle Association also supports this bill, saying in part “the fundamental right to self-defense should not stop simply because you park your car”.

It’s now a waiting game for Manna Meal.

“They can come in, enjoy a meal without any fear of there being weapons on the premises,” said Tara Martinez.

They’re waiting to see if this bill will change the way they operate.
Schools will still remain gun-free zones under this new legislation, however.

ORIGINAL STORY 3/9/18 @ 5:31 p.m.
Employees in West Virginia could bring their loaded guns to work as long as they are locked in their cars, according to a measure approved by the Legislature.

The Senate's 32-1 approval Friday followed previous 85-14 House passage.

It says the property owner cannot prohibit any customer, employee or invitee from having a legally owned gun in its parking lot provided the weapon is inside a locked vehicle or compartment.

Businesses would be prohibited from even asking whether anyone has a gun locked in a car or truck. Violations would be subject to civil penalties up to $5,000.

Supporters say it would expand Second Amendment rights in West Virginia.

Critics said it would make workplaces more dangerous and West Virginia less attractive to companies that want to control their premises.



 
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