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§15-5-19a. Possession of firearms during a declared state of emergency.

(a) No person acting on behalf or under the authority of the state or a political subdivision of the state may do any of the following during any federal or state declared state of emergency:

(1) Prohibit or restrict the otherwise lawful possession, use, carrying, transfer, transportation, storage or display of a firearm or ammunition;

(2) Seize, confiscate, or authorize the seizure or confiscation of any otherwise lawfully-possessed firearm or ammunition unless:

(A) The person acting on behalf of or under the authority of the state or political subdivision is:

(i) Defending himself or another from an assault; or,

(ii) Arresting a person in actual possession of a firearm or ammunition for a violation of law; or,

(B) The firearm or ammunition is being seized or confiscated as evidence of a crime; or,

(3) Require registration of any firearm or ammunition.

(b) The prohibitions of subsection (a)(1) do not prohibit the state or an authorized state or local authority from ordering and enforcing an evacuation or general closure of businesses in the affected area during a declared state of emergency.

(c) Any individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may seek relief in an action at law or in equity for redress against any person who subjects such individual, or causes such individual to be subjected, to an action prohibited by this section.

(d) In addition to any other remedy at law or in equity, an individual aggrieved by the seizure or confiscation of a firearm or ammunition in violation of this section may bring an action for the return of such firearm or ammunition in the circuit court of the county in which that individual resides or in which such firearm or ammunition is located.

(e) In any action or proceeding to enforce this section, the court shall award a prevailing plaintiff costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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