BECKLEY, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – Tuesday evening, the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) held a town hall-like meeting with their West Virginia members at Tamarack for a West Virginia Grassroots update.
The purpose of the meeting was to inform members on the NRA’s legislative happenings this session- explaining the bills that have passed and how those bills benefit members and lawful gun owners in the state, as well as discuss concerns with the current Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) nominee and proposed federal regulations on firearms.
The meeting was attended by leaders in the NRA, nearly 50 members of the NRA and various state officials such West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Delegate Brandon Steele (R-Raleigh, 29), Delegate Jeff Pack (R-Raleigh, 28), Senator Rupie Phillips (R-Logan, 07) and others.
The meeting kicked off with a few words by NRA Board of Directors member Bill Miller.
“We are in different times than we have ever been before,” he said. “West Virginia has a history of when shooters get together and shooters decide they want to do something, we get it done, and we make it happen. You are doing your part to move forward in elections and show that gun owners in West Virginia matter.”
Art Thomm, NRA State Director, explained that, this past session, the NRA saw five important bills pass through the legislature and that those laws have either already been signed into law or are awaiting to be signed into law. According to Thomm, the NRA’s priority bill this session was Senate Bill 458, which passed unanimously.
The bill protects Second Amendment rights during emergencies by prohibiting the state, government officials and agencies, or local governments from restricting the lawful carrying, sale, or use of firearms and ammunition during states of emergencies.
NRA Manager of Political and Legislative Activities Christian Ragosta stated that the NRA was also pleased with the recent introduction of the Hearing Protection Act, which would remove silencers from the definition of firearms, and for other purposes.
Ragosta explained that, while moves were made to protect Second Amendment rights this year, members need to be aware of several federal policies that are working to take these rights away.
He highlighted H.R. 127, which will establish a process for the licensing and registration of firearms and also prohibit the possession of certain ammunition and large capacity ammunition feeding devices; H.R. 8, which will implement new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties (i.e., unlicensed individuals); and H.R. 1446, which will revise background check requirements applicable to proposed firearm transfers from a federal firearms licensee (e.g., a licensed gun dealer) to an unlicensed person.
Other noted topics were the proposed assault weapons ban, magazine capacity limitations, and recent executive orders.
Attorney General Morrisey was asked to address NRA members during the meeting and spoke of how recent moves with the Biden Administration will cause problems for gun owners.
“The threat is real. People say, ‘People aren’t coming for your guns. They aren’t trying to put policies in place.’ They are. These are real policies designed to make us a more gun-controlled state…We have a lot of work to do because there are new threats on the horizon.”
One of the final pieces of the meeting was educating NRA members on President Biden’s ATF nominee, David Chipman, gun control activist and lobbyist who actively supports the AR-15 ban.
NRA leaders urged their members to contact Senator Joe Manchin’s office and ask him to vote against Chipman as they believe he does not represent West Virginia’s values in regard to the Second Amendment.
The meeting concluded with a Q&A segment, where members addressed their concerns to Morrisey, Ragosta and Thomm. Most members focused on the possibility of an ammunition shortage, how they can advocate Second Amendment rights and how they can inform their elected officials of their fears.
Following the meeting, Lootpress spoke with Thomm, who expressed the importance of these routine meetings.
“To have face to face with our members so that we can get their immediate feedback and also again explain to them face to face and direct what the laws have passed in the state of West Virginia do for them as well as what they don’t do is a huge deal.”
NRA-ILA is currently holding Grassroots updates across the country.