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Introduced Version House Bill 3331 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted
hb3331 intr
H. B. 3331


(By Delegate Reynolds)
[Introduced March 23, 2009; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]




A BILL to amend and reenact §15-5-6 and §15-5-19a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §61-6-1a of said code, all relating to prohibiting the taking of lawfully possessed arms and ammunition during a declared state of emergency or riot.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §15-5-6 and §15-5-19a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; that §61-6-1a of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 15. PUBLIC SAFETY.

ARTICLE 5. DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

§15-5-6. Emergency powers of Governor.

(a) The provisions of this section shall be operative only during the existence of a state of emergency.

(b) The existence of a state of emergency may be proclaimed by the Governor, by proclamation, or by concurrent resolution of the Legislature, by concurrent resolution, may proclaim the existence
of a state of emergency if the Governor in such his or her proclamation, or the Legislature in such its concurrent resolution, finds that:
(1)(A) An attack upon the United States has occurred or is anticipated in the immediate future; or that

(B) A natural or man-made disaster of major proportions has actually occurred or is imminent within the state; and that

(2) The safety and welfare of the inhabitants of this state require an invocation of the provisions of this section.

(c) Any such state of emergency, whether proclaimed by the Governor or by the Legislature, shall terminate upon the proclamation of the termination thereof of the state of emergency by the Governor, or the passage by the Legislature of a concurrent resolution terminating such the state of emergency.

(d) So long as such When a state of emergency exists as provided in this section, the Governor shall have and may exercise the following additional emergency powers:

(a) (1) To enforce all laws, rules and regulations relating to the provision of emergency services and to assume direct operational control of any or all emergency service forces and helpers in the state;

(b) (2) To sell, lend, lease, give, transfer or deliver materials or perform functions relating to emergency services on such terms and conditions as he or she shall prescribe and prescribed by the Governor, without regard to the limitations of any existing law, and to account to the State Treasurer for any
funds received for such the property;
(c) (3) To procure materials and facilities for emergency services by purchase, condemnation under the provisions of chapter fifty-four of this code or seizure pending institution of condemnation proceedings within thirty days from the seizing thereof and to construct, lease, transport, store, maintain, renovate or distribute such materials and facilities. Compensation for property so procured under this subdivision shall be made in the manner provided in chapter fifty-four of this code;

(d) (4) To obtain the services of necessary personnel, required during the emergency, and to compensate them for their services from his or her the Governor's contingent funds or such other funds as may be available to him or her the Governor;

(e) (5) To provide and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state and to take such steps as are necessary steps for the receipt and care of such evacuees;

(f) (6) To control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area, the movement of persons within the area and the occupancy of premises therein in a disaster area;

(g) (7) To suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or the orders, rules or regulations of any state agency, if strict compliance therewith with the applicable regulatory statute would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency;

(h) (8) To utilize such available resources of the state and of its political subdivisions as are reasonably necessary to cope with the emergency;

(i) (9) To suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives and combustibles;

(j) (10) To make provision for the availability and use of temporary emergency housing; and

(k) (11) To perform and exercise such other functions, powers and duties as are necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.

(e) The Legislature finds and declares that an individual's right to keep and bear arms is especially necessary for the protection of lives and property of law-abiding citizens during emergency situations when law-enforcement and other public safety resources are especially limited. No powers granted under this section may be interpreted to authorize the seizure or confiscation of a firearm from a person unless that firearm is unlawfully possessed or unlawfully carried by the person, or the person is otherwise engaged in a criminal act.

§15-5-19a. Possession of firearms during a declared state of emergency.
(a) The Legislature finds and declares that an individual's right to keep and bear arms is especially necessary for the protection of lives and property of law-abiding citizens during emergency situations when law-enforcement and other public safety resources are especially limited.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary:
(1)
No powers granted under this article to state or local authorities may be interpreted to authorize the seizure or confiscation of a firearm from a person during a declared state of emergency unless that firearm is unlawfully possessed or unlawfully carried by the person, or the person is otherwise engaged in a criminal act; and
(2) This article does not authorize:
(A) Any prohibition or impairment of the otherwise lawful possession of privately owned firearms or ammunition; or
(B) Any prohibition of the otherwise lawful carrying of any firearm or acquisition of any firearm or ammunition.
CHAPTER 61. CRIMES AND THEIR PUNISHMENT.

ARTICLE 6. CRIMES AGAINST THE PEACE.
§61-6-1a. Control of riots and unlawful assemblages.
(a) Members of the department of public safety State Police, sheriffs and mayors, and those acting under their order, may, when engaged in suppressing a riot, rout or unlawful assemblage, cordon off any area or areas threatened by such riot, rout or unlawful assemblage, and may take all actions which are necessary and reasonable under the emergency to restore law and order, and such actions may be, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) (1) Prohibit the sale, offering for sale, dispensing, furnishing or transportation of firearms or other dangerous weapons, ammunition, dynamite or other dangerous explosives in, to or from such areas.
(b) (2) Prohibit the sale, offering for sale, dispensing, furnishing or consumption of alcoholic beverages or nonintoxicating beer in a public place in such areas, and prohibit the transportation of alcoholic beverages or nonintoxicating beer in, to or from such areas.
(c) (3) Impose curfews, as required, to control movement of persons in, to and from such areas.
(d) (4) Enter a private dwelling or other building or other private place in such areas when in fresh pursuit of a rioter, when in search of a sniper who has fired upon a person from such a dwelling or other building or place or when in search of firearms, other dangerous weapons, ammunition, dynamite or other dangerous explosives when there is reason to believe that such items are stored in the said dwelling, building or place and that they will be removed therefrom before a search warrant could be obtained.
(b) No person shall wilfully may willfully fail to obey a lawful order of any mayor, sheriff, deputy sheriff, municipal police officer, member of the department of public safety State Police, or other officer, given pursuant to this section. Any person who violates an order given pursuant to the authority of this section shall be this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned confined in the county jail for not more than six months, or both. fined and imprisoned
(c) Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, this section does not authorize:
(1) Any prohibition or impairment of the otherwise lawful possession of privately owned firearms or ammunition; or
(2) Any prohibition of the otherwise lawful carrying of any firearm or acquisition of any firearm or ammunition.




NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the taking of lawfully possessed arms and ammunition during a declared state of emergency or riot.

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