CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office has filed motions to intervene in and dismiss the City of Charleston's lawsuit regarding a state law that seeks to ensure firearm laws are applied uniformly across the state.
The motions say Charleston’s lawsuit should be dismissed because the city did not sue anyone. Instead, the city asked Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster to render an opinion on the “validity” and “construction” of the law, which passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
“The City of Charleston violated the most basic court rule: that there has to be conflict between two parties," Morrisey said in a press statement. "In this lawsuit, it is the City of Charleston versus no one.
“The City may have questions regarding the new law, but this is not the correct method to seek those kinds of answers. The Legislature stated its intention to create uniform rules relating to citizens’ Second Amendment rights; the City’s actions disregard basic court rules by which everyone must abide. While laws pertaining to citizens’ gun rights sometimes spark strong reactions, the rule of law — and not emotions — must always be followed.”
Senate Bill 317, which is now law, says firearm laws should be applied uniformly across the state. In addition, the law says municipalities may not restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens with properly obtained concealed handgun permits from entering the city’s recreational centers so long as such firearms are securely stored out of view and cannot be accessed by others.
On March 26, the Charleston filed its complaint in the Kanawha Circuit Court. Morrisey said his office’s motions focus on the fact that the city’s complaint does not list an adverse party. They also show that the city cannot seek a judge’s opinion on laws that are not being contested by two parties.
“If the City is allowed to proceed with this case, anyone in the state who doesn’t like a law could file a similar action, burdening our courts and doing great damage to our legal system,” Morrisey said in his statement.Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-604