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:
â€œI am in full support of this legislation,â€ Manchin said of SB515,Â â€œHowever, 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.â€
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.” Â Hard to believe this made it all the way to the Governor without anyone noticing.