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WV Citizens Defense League wants courts to void Charleston gun laws

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The West Virginia Citizen's Defense League wants a court order that would prohibit the City of Charleston from enforcing its firearms regulations.

WVCDL is asking Kanawha County Circuit Court for an injunction and declaratory judgment that would nullify the city's gun ordinances.

The group says a new state law piggybacked into 2013 legislation renewing and expanding the Home Rule program does not allow participating cities to regulate firearms, except in government buildings. Charleston, one of the four original Home Rule pilot project cities, must either opt out of the program or repeal gun laws it's had on the books since the 1990s.

WVCDL, though, maintains the half-cent sales tax council passed under Home Rule earlier this year makes it clear City Council has no intention of opting out of the program so the firearms restrictions should be lifted now.

"Charleston is operating in clear violation of state law by continuing to operate their unconstitutional gun registry, and enforcing other city ordinances in blatant opposition of the will of the West Virginia Legislature and the people of West Virginia," WVCDL President Keith Morgan said. "This needs to stop."

City Attorney Paul Ellis, meanwhile, confirmed they'd been served with the court papers but declined to discuss the case, saying only that, "We'll review the complaint and respond in court."

Mayor Danny Jones said city officials "aren't worried about it."

"The suit's not going anywhere," he said. "It's a stunt."