Danny Jones, the mayor of Charleston, W.Va., completely lost his cool during a debate over recently-passed legislation intended to make gun laws more “uniform” across the state. The interview aired on WOWK-TV on March 16.
Joining him on the program was West Virginia Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D), who sponsored the new law intended to keep local governments from crafting gun rules stricter than their state’s or the federal government.
With Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s approval earlier this month, West Virginia nixed the right for cities to outlaw guns at their swimming pools, tennis courts, after-school centers and similar city venues. Under the new law, concealed carry permit owners visiting the locations would need to store guns securely out of view and access to others on site, or keep them locked in their cars out of sight.
The West Virginia bill also unravels long-established gun rules in a handful of communities, like Charleston’s three-day waiting period to buy a gun and one gun per month purchase limit. At a March 17 meeting, the City Council stripped the ordinance, which has stood since 1993.
In 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a law prohibiting local laws tougher on guns than the state. In 43 states, local governments face varying limits on regulating guns and ammunition, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Both Sen. Unger and the program’s host, Bray Cary, agreed the bill dictates a person still can’t carry a gun into city hall under the new law — Jones again disagreed.
“No it is not! You can,” Jones said. “What you have to do, you have to walk up and tap a guy on the shoulder and say, ‘Please remove your gun.’”
Unger argued the law is clear that an individual may not carry a gun in any municipally owned or operated building.
“And look how it enforces it, John!” Jones shot back.
The show’s host, who admitted he doesn’t agree with the pro-gun law, eventually had to intervene. He told the anti-gun mayor “factually, John is correct.”
“It says you can keep it off of city property,” Cary said.
“It hinders the enforcement of the law,” Jones said sternly, arguing that a gun owner has to first be warned before he is arrested for carrying a gun on prohibited property.
Neither Unger nor Cary could find that part of the bill.
“Well, it’s there!” Jones hollered.
The fired-up mayor went on to question Unger’s understanding of the bill because he was only a “state senator” not a lawyer. He also emphatically referred to the lawmaker as a “knucklehead up at the Legislature.”
Jones happens to be a Republican, but is also a member of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
There is plenty more where that came from:
(H/T: Illinois Gun Owners Rights)
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story has been updated to correct the fact that Sen. Unger is a Democrat.