WHEELING - Employers couldn't stop workers from legally bringing firearms in their personal vehicles to their workplace under legislation proposed by Del. Ryan Ferns.
Ferns, D-Ohio, first introduced the measure last year. It is now before the 81st Legislature as House Bill 2294. The measure prohibits an employer from terminating employment or imposing sanctions on a worker who brings a legally stored gun onto the workplace property in their personal vehicle.
The provision would ensure the right of citizens to transport firearms and store firearms for "lawful purposes in any place where the vehicle is otherwise permitted to be," its language states.
The measure wouldn't supercede existing laws where prohibitions of guns on the property already are in place - such as on public school property, Ferns noted.
"A local person had an issue with their employer," he said. "The person felt if he complied with all state laws for transporting firearms, he shouldn't be at risk for loss of employment" for bringing a firearm on the workplace property in a personal vehicle.
"If you take your car to work and abide by the laws, you shouldn't be fired," Ferns added.
The West Virginia Legislature this year likely will see a number of bills pertaining to firearms in light of recent mass shootings. Some of these could seek stricter regulations on weapons, while others may seek to ensure the rights of gun owners.
"I don't see anything in West Virginia being passed that would mean greater enforcement," Ferns said. "West Virginians, by and large, are serious about their gun-owning rights. The general public is not interested in stricter gun laws."