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Introduced Version House Bill 4427 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted

 WEST virginia Legislature

2016 regular session

Introduced

House Bill 4427

By Delegate Duke

[Introduced February 8, 2016; Referred
to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact §7-4-1 of  the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to  amend said code by adding thereto two new sections, designated §30-29A-12 and §30-29A-13, all relating to requiring law-enforcement agencies to provide identification to qualified law-enforcement officers in order to allow them to carry firearms for self-defense under the federal Law-Enforcement Officers Safety Act; providing, upon completion of required training and annual background check, prosecuting attorneys and assistant prosecuting attorneys are vested with  statutory authority necessary for the option to carry firearms for self-defense pursuant to the applicable federal act; and requiring law-enforcement agencies to provide qualified retired law-enforcement officers the opportunity to receive annual firearms qualification as required under the federal act.


Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §7-4-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto two new sections, designated §30-29A-12 and §30-29A-13, all to read as follows:

CHAPTER 7. COUNTY COMMISSIONS AND OFFICERS.


ARTICLE 4. PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, REWARDS AND LEGAL ADVICE.

§7-4-1. Duties of prosecuting attorney; further duties upon request of Attorney General.

(a) It shall be the duty of the prosecuting attorney to attend to the criminal business of the state in the county in which he or she is elected and qualified, and when he the prosecuting attorney has information of the violation of any penal law committed within such county, he the prosecuting attorney shall institute and prosecute all necessary and proper proceedings against the offender, and may in such case issue or cause to be issued a summons for any witness he the prosecuting attorney may deem material. Every public officer shall give him the prosecuting attorney information of the violation of any penal law committed within his or her county. It shall also be the duty of the prosecuting attorney to attend to civil suits in such county in which the state, or any department, commission or board thereof, is interested, and to advise, attend to, bring, prosecute or defend, as the case may be, all matters, actions, suits and proceedings in which such county or any county board of education is interested.

(b) Any prosecuting attorney or assistant prosecuting attorney who elects to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense pursuant to the federal Law-Enforcement Officers Safety Act, 18 U.S.C. § 926B, must complete training in the safe handling and firing of a handgun and pass a background investigation by the Sheriff of their jurisdiction. Either of the following satisfies the training requirement of this subsection: (1) Any handgun safety or training course conducted by an NRA certified firearms instructor; or (2) a firearms training, qualification or requalification offered by any federal, state or local law-enforcement agency to its active or retired members. A certificate of completion or an affidavit from the instructor shall constitute proof of training required under this subsection. A prosecuting attorney or assistant shall provide proof of training to the sheriff of their county, who shall then conduct a background investigation, including a nationwide criminal background check consisting of inquiries of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the West Virginia criminal history record responses and the National Interstate Identification Index. The sheriff shall determine if possession of a firearm by the applicant would violate West Virginia or federal law, including 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) or (n). If the sheriff determines that an applicant has satisfied the training requirement herein and may lawfully possess a firearm, the sheriff shall certify the same in writing to the applicant and to the prosecuting attorney of their jurisdiction. Upon certification by the sheriff, the prosecuting attorney or an assistant prosecuting attorney shall have, within their jurisdiction, all statutory rights and authorities required to carry a firearm for self-defense under the federal Law-Enforcement Officers Safety Act. 18 U.S.C. § 926B, or its successor, and shall be issued, by their agency, a photographic identification and certification card. The card shall be suitable to be carried in a wallet and shall contain the name, title, official address, full-face color photograph of said prosecuting attorney or assistant prosecuting attorney, the signatures of both the prosecuting attorney and sheriff of their county and the date of issuance together with the words "A Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 926B authorized to carry firearms" in bold conspicuous type. The sheriff shall annually conduct a background investigation on any person certified under this subsection and immediately revoke the certification of any person who may not lawfully possess a firearm. The statutory rights and authorities conferred under this subsection provide an additional lawful means of carrying a firearm for self-defense supplemental to existing rights to bear arms and nothing in this subsection shall impair or diminish such rights. Except upon a specific official request by law enforcement to confirm that a given prosecuting attorney or assistant prosecuting attorney is qualified to carry a firearm under this subsection, the names of individuals who may, or may not, have qualified under this section shall remain private and confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under article one, chapter twenty-nine-b of this code.

(c) It shall be the duty of the prosecuting attorney to keep his or her office open in the charge of a responsible person during the hours polls are open on general, primary and special county-wide election days, and the prosecuting attorney, or his the prosecuting attorney=s assistant, if any, shall be available for the purpose of advising election officials. It shall be the further duty of the prosecuting attorney, when requested by the Attorney General, to perform or to assist the Attorney General in performing, in the county in which he the prosecuting attorney is elected, any legal duties required to be performed by the Attorney General, and which are not inconsistent with the duties of the prosecuting attorney as the legal representative of such county. It shall also be the duty of the prosecuting attorney, when requested by the Attorney General, to perform or to assist the Attorney General in performing, any legal duties required to be performed by the Attorney General, in any county other than that in which such prosecuting attorney is elected, and for the performance of any such duties in any county other than that in which such prosecuting attorney is elected he the prosecuting attorney shall be paid his or her actual expenses.

(d) Upon the request of the Attorney General the prosecuting attorney shall make a written report of the state and condition of the several causes in which the state is a party, pending in his or her county, and upon any matters referred to him the prosecuting attorney by the Attorney General as provided by law.

ARTICLE 29. law-enforcement training and certification.


§30-29A-12. Qualified retired law enforcement eligibility for continued firearms qualification.

When a person is employed by the state or a county or municipal agency in this state as a "Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer" within the meaning of 18 U.S.C.§926B and retires from, or otherwise honorably ceases employment, the agency shall provide, at no charge, an appropriate photo-identification to show the former employee's total years of public service and their status as an honorably separated or retired "Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer." Upon request and payment of a fee not to exceed $10, a replacement photo-identification shall be issued. Every West Virginia state, county or municipal agency which conducts firearms qualification for current employees shall offer its eligible retired or honorably separated former employees an opportunity to participate in firearms qualification on an annual basis. The former employees shall provide, at their own expense, an appropriate firearm and ammunition and may be charged a fee not to exceed $25. Upon completion of the training and payment of any fee, the law-enforcement agency shall issue a new photo-identification and certification which identifies the former employee as a retired "Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer" who has satisfied the annual training requirements of 18 U.S.C. §926C.


§30-29A-13. Law-enforcement officers to receive identification and certification to carry weapons off-duty.

(a) Every person employed by a West Virginia state, county or municipal agency who is a "Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer" within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. §926B, shall receive, free of charge, an appropriate photo-identification and certification of training required to carry a concealed  firearm under the federal Law-Enforcement Officers Safety Act. 18 U.S.C. §926B. This subsection may not be construed to prohibit a law-enforcement agency from controlling the use of any department-owned weapon.

(b) When a person employed by a West Virginia state, county or municipal agency as a "Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer" within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. §926B retires from, or otherwise honorably ceases employment, the agency shall provide, at no charge, an appropriate photo-identification to show the former employee's total years of public service and their status as an honorably separated or retired "Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer." Upon request and payment of a fee not to exceed $10, a replacement photo-identification shall be issued. Every West Virginia state, county or municipal agency which conducts firearms qualification for current employees shall offer its eligible retired or honorably separated former employees an opportunity to participate in such firearms qualification on an annual basis. The former employees shall provide, at their own expense, an appropriate firearm and ammunition and may be charged a fee not to exceed $25. Upon completion of the training and payment of any fee, the law-enforcement agency shall issue a new photo-identification and certification which identifies the former employee as a retired "Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer" who has satisfied the annual training requirements of 18 U.S.C. §926C.

(c) A law-enforcement agency may, in its sole discretion, allow a person who retired, or honorably separated from another agency as a "Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer" within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. §926B, the opportunity to participate in firearms qualification the agency provides its own former employees under subsection (b) above. A participant shall provide proof of eligibility as a former "Qualified Law-Enforcement Officer" and shall provide, at their own expense, an appropriate firearm and ammunition and may be charged a fee not to exceed $50. Upon completion of the training and payment of the applicable fee, the law-enforcement agency shall issue a written and dated certification which states that the retiree satisfied the firearms qualification requirements of the agency to allow the retiree to qualify under 18 U.S.C. §926C.

 

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require law-enforcement agencies to provide identification to qualified law-enforcement officers to allow them to carry firearms for self-defense under the federal Law-Enforcement Officers Safety Act; The bill provides that upon completion of required training and annual background checks, prosecuting attorneys and assistant prosecuting attorneys have the statutory authority necessary for the option to carry firearms for self-defense pursuant to the applicable federal act in order to have legal authority to carry firearms while crossing state lines (NOTE: 18 U.S.C. §926C includes persons who prosecute as “Qualified Law-Enforcement Officers”). The bill also requires law-enforcement agencies to provide qualified retired law-enforcement officers the opportunity to receive annual firearms qualification as required under the federal act.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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