Anti-Gun Bill Introduced in House of Delegates, Must Be Stopped!
|Today, at the request of the Supreme Court of Appeals, several members of the House Judiciary Committee introduced House Bill 4422. HB 4422 radically changes the law governing when a person becomes prohibited from possessing firearms because of a domestic violence protective order.
Under current state law (W.Va. Code § 61-7-7(a)(7)), which is identical to federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8)), a domestic violence protective order does not result in the respondent being prohibited from possessing firearms unless the order "was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice and at which such person had an opportunity to participate." HB 4422 eliminates the requirement of a hearing and the respondent's opportunity to participate and instead imposes firearm disabilities immediately upon the issuance of an emergency ex parte order.
HB 4422 violates our right to keep and bear arms and our right to not be deprived of any liberty without due process of law. HB 4422 takes away a person's right to possess a gun without a hearing or an opportunity to participate in that hearing. Without a hearing, a person has no opportunity to present his or her side of the case and refute potentially false and malicious charges. The current law is already abused enough by vindictive, manipulative individuals who abuse the system to threaten another person's gun rights to gain leverage in divorces, child custody disputes, and lesser personal conflicts.
On top of all this, HB 4422 is unnecessary as a means of protecting victims of domestic violence. Current state law (W.Va. Code § 48-27-403(d)) requires a "final hearing" before a family court within 10 days of the issuance of an emergency domestic violence protective order. A "final order," which is valid for either 90 days or 180 days, as designated by the family court, does trigger firearm disabilities under current law. If a person has committed an act of domestic violence, he or she can always be arrested for that crime and be subjected to bail conditions that would adequately protect alleged victims without depriving him or her of his/her rights before a court hearing at which he/she can present his/her side of the case.
ACTION ITEM: Oppose HB 4422
|Please write a personal letter to the House Judiciary Committee stating that you oppose HB 4422 and request a full public hearing on the bill.
I suggest the following content for your letter:
[Your name and address]
House Judiciary Committee
Building 1, Room 418M
Charleston, WV 25305
Dear Members of the House Judiciary Committee:
I write to you today to oppose HB 4422 and request a full public hearing on it pursuant to House Rule 84.
HB 4422 is an attack on our right to keep and bear arms that would take away a person's right to own a gun based on mere allegations of domestic violence without an opportunity for that person to have his or her day in court.
HB 4422 violates our right to keep and bear arms and our right to due process of law. I strongly oppose it and demand a public hearing pursuant to House Rule 84 before the Judiciary Committee acts on it. I request to be notified of the hearing at the address above.
You may fax your letter to 304-340-3231.
Under House Rules, only signed public hearing requests (such as a letter by mail or fax) are valid means of requesting a public hearing on any bill. A hearing request requires a public hearing on a bill before a committee may act on it. However, a committee may always refuse to act on a bill and thus kill it without a hearing (which is fine with us as far as HB 4422 is concerned).
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