West Virginia Guv Vetos NRA Bills

Governor Manchin of West Virginia has vetoed two NRA backed bills. I have to give him credit, at least for principled opposition on the bills. The one, which was a tax free holiday on guns, he’s opposed to because it would undermine revenue for the state at a time when the state was struggling to make ends meet. As a person who’s fairly neutral on these tax holidays for guns, this doesn’t particularly dismay me. The other bill the Governor vetoed is the Bloomberg Bill, which would have make his “stings” illegal, and his opposition to this is far more interesting:

“I am in full support of this legislation,” Manchin said of SB515, “However, I must veto the bill for technical reasons. There is a faulty cross-reference in the bill that would purportedly penalize violations of an unrelated code section.”

I’m not one to trust a politician at his word, but sure enough, you go into the bill and you have a drafting error:

(5) A person who knowingly solicits, persuades, encourages or entices a licensed dealer or private seller of firearms or ammunition to transfer a firearm or ammunition under circumstances which the person knows would violate the laws of this state or the United States is guilty of a felony. A person who willfully procures another to engage in conduct prohibited by this subsection shall be punished as a principal. This subsection does not apply to a law-enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity. Any person who violates the provisions of section five of subsection (5) of this section is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned in a state correctional facility for a definite term of not less than one year nor more than five years, or both fined and imprisoned.

Emphasis mine. Section five is relating to revocation of permits, and it’s not part of any subsection. In fact, it’s not really possible to have a section of a subsection, and section 5 doesn’t have a subsection 5 regardless. This is completely nonsensical if you look at the layout of West Virginia’s statutes. I’m not sure I agree with the Governor that it criminalizes an unintended section, but it’s definitely wrong and needs to be fixed. It can easily be fixed by replacing the bolded portions with “this subsection.”  Hard to believe this made it all the way to the Governor without anyone noticing.

7 thoughts on “West Virginia Guv Vetos NRA Bills”

  1. Especially without the NRA noticing… they are usually good at finding little things wrong with bills.

    When I first saw your headline, I thought, “oh man, don’t commit political suicide, Joe”. Glad he at least had decent reasons for the vetos. I’ve always kinda liked Manchin, even if he is a Democrat.

  2. Ok. So let’s erase that little piece of business an re-word it more thoughtfully so we can shove it up bloomberg’s @ss.

    1. That’s a great idea! Unfortunately, the legislature adjourned last month. Someone got sloppy and didn’t bother reading the bill. So while this could have been fixed easily and quietly, now it’s big news and Bloomberg can claim a win for at least another year. He can basically declare war on West Virginia for another year and there’s nothing we can do about it. He can use in any fundraising materials or grant requests that he beat the NRA in West Virginia. It doesn’t matter if it was on a technicality, he won and that’s all that matters.

      I know that mistakes happen, and we have to be willing to put the past behind us and move on to advance the cause. However, when West Virginia only has a 60-day session, I’m assuming the NRA liaison would work like most other lobbyists do in states with short sessions. That would typically mean having your legislative plan ready in advance because you need to have it introduced and ready to move as soon as the session starts. You don’t have much time to deal with changes during the session, especially when you’re competing with issues like budgets and bigger bills. Reading the damn bill should have been in the advance planning stages. Even if a friendly legislator actually drafted the thing, you’d think that reading the damn bill would fit somewhere in the list of things to do before pushing it all the way through the legislature to the governor’s desk.

  3. @ Bitter: Yeah…like throwing your 2nd to last uno card down without calling uno first. GOD i would’ve loved to see bloomberg’s goons in cuffs.

    Guess we have to wait until next year…or at least have it re-drawn and ready to go in case a special session is called. Perhaps sneak it in, if that ever arises…but in any case, have it re-drawn.

  4. Color me unsurprised that no one in the legislature read the bill, but color me absolutely STUNNED that the Governor (or at least his staff) DID read it.

  5. LOL.. I came from Google Reader to comment that “at least he read the bill” but you guys are all over it. I should have known.

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