In September 2017, Judge James Stucky of the Kanawha County Circuit Court ruled that people cannot carry firearms in municipal recreation centers in Charleston. The judge came to this conclusion because legally, the centers are school facilities.
Sean McGinley, a lawyer at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, argued that the municipal centers are school facilities because they hold school events, such as athletics.
Judge Stucky said that guns are permanently banned from the municipal centers, not just during the times when the school is using the centers.
If a school doesn’t have a lease for a specific municipal recreation center, then people who have a license to conceal and carry can bring their weapon to the center. The weapon must be secure and inaccessible to others. The court also deliberated about the parameters that make a firearm secure.
Shawn Romano, on behalf of the West Virginia Citizens Defense League, argued that safe storage could be when the owner stows the firearm on themselves or in their vehicle’s glove compartment while they’re at the recreation center.
McGinley argued that secure storage meant a locked safe that requires a key or combination to unlock it.
While the two disagreed here, they both had the same idea about who could bring firearms to a municipal center. They agreed that only those with a license to conceal and carry could bring a firearm with them.
Judge Stucky’s ruling states that a firearm in a person’s holster or bag counts as secure firearm storage. The firearm has to stay with the individual so no one else can get to the weapon. If the recreation center locker room has lockers that require a key or combination to open, then gun owners can store their guns in the lockers. However, the recreation center doesn’t have to provide lockers to the gun owners.
He concluded that people with the conceal and carry license are exempt from the ordinance because they have more training than other gun owners. The exemption is only in effect when they keep their weapons out of sight and so others cannot access them.
Communities focused on keeping people safe and promoting involvement are vital for towns to flourish. The people in Kanawha County know they have lawyers who fight for their safety and this new law might encourage more people to come out to events in the municipal centers.
DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC has dedicated and skilled West Virginia personal injury lawyers. If you have any injury, accident, or legal concerns in Charleston, contact us.