TELL YOUR SENATORS TO SUPPORT SB 147 AND END THE CRIMINAL PROTECTION ZONE IN AND AROUND OUR STATE CAPITOL!

This is very important!

As I just mentioned above, today, Senator Sypolt introduced SB 147, which will repeal the State Capitol gun ban and restore our right to carry there. Now, we need to help move this bill.

Of the 34 members of the state senate, 17 were not elected last year and have not yet been surveyed by WVCDL. Of the 17 who were elected last year, only 6 participated in WVCDL’s candidate survey. In addition to Senator Sypolt (who was elected in 2006 and is sponsoring SB 147), only Senators Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, Karen Facemyer, R-Jackson, Bob Williams, D-Taylor, and Clark Barnes, R-Randolph are on the record as supporting a bill to repeal the State Capitol carry ban. Senators Richard Browning, D-Wyoming, and Doug Facemire, D-Braxton, indicated that they do not support repealing the State Capitol carry ban. The remaining 27 senators are not on the record.

ACTION ITEM

Identify your senatorial district and write to both of our state senators (or all4 if you live in Kanawha County). Unless you live in a ZIP code that is split between two districts, you can easily find your senators and delegate(s) by going to the Legislature’s web site West Virginia Legislature and entering your ZIP code. You will then see your senators and delegate(s).

When you know who your senators are, you should write an old-fashioned paper letter to both or all of your senators letting them know that you are a constituent, that you are a gun owner, than you have a concealed handgun license (if you have one), and that you strongly support SB 147 and urge them to support the bill and restore our right to self-defense in and around our State Capitol.

Why a letter? Every senator has e-mail and a phone. However, your voice will have a particularly strong impact if you actually write a letter to each of your senators. Surveys of elected officials and staffers show that e-mail messages are given the least weight, followed by telephone calls. However, your elected representatives take notice when you write to them—and really take notice if you write a hand-written letter. Imagine what will happen when your senator has a flood of letters in his or her inbox next Monday urging him/her to support this bill!

As for me, although I will soon be graduating from law school, my penmanship more closely resembles that of a doctor (no offense, doctors). Therefore, I will type my personal letters to my two senators. You may or may not be able to write an entire letter that another person can actually read. Either way, it is important that you also write to your senators in some form.

When you write your letter, it should be addressed to:

The Honorable [name of your senator]
West Virginia Senate
Building 1, Room [insert your senator’s office number, such as 209W or 439M]
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV 25305

The proper salutation for a letter to a state senator is “Dear Senator [insert your senator’s last name here]:” Your letter should include your name, home mailing address, and phone number. You may or may not include your e-mail address.

WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY?

As a rule, we leave the specific content of letters, e-mails, and other communications to your elected officials up to you. We disfavor form letters, as most elected officials can easily spot a form letter campaign and generally disregard form letter submissions.

You may wish to note in your letter that several other states, including Virginia, let their citizens carry in their state capitols just as we are proposing with SB 147. Furthermore, while Virginia has a well-secured state capitol building that has only one public entrance and mandatory metal detector screenings of all who enter, we have a wide open capitol building with many unmonitored public entrances and no security checkpoints except for temporary security measures provided for extraordinary events. Yet, Virginia allows individuals who have concealed handgun permits to carry guns inside their state capitol (which is quite a sight to see for Yankee transplants) while West Virginia completely bans guns in our State Capitol.

WHAT NEXT?

After you mail your letter, wait about a week. Then, call your senator’s office at the State Capitol and ask to speak with him/her about SB 147 and your letter. Let your senators know that restoring your right to protect yourself when you visit YOUR State Capitol is important to you, your friends, and your family now and will be just as important at the next election.