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W.Va. delegate seeks to hold ‘no-gun zones’ legally liable for shooting injuries

BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) In the wake of several mass shootings across the U.S., several major retailers have started asking and, in some cases, requiring that customers keep firearms out of their stores.

But do these new policies go far enough to protect the public?

According to W.Va. Del. Brandon Steele, (R) 29th, legislation is needed to hold no-gun zones accountable in the event of a tragedy.

“If you’ve taken away that person’s ability to protect themselves, then it’s incumbent on you to protect them,” explained Del. Steele who is seeking a revision in state code.

While all Americans have the right to bear arms, Del. Steele said there are key exemptions in the state code that allow for no gun zones. Some examples include school and some businesses.

“You never know what’s going to happen. It’s been proven over and over, most of these shootings occur in no gun zones,” said Tom Acosta in Beckley.

While proponents of the no gun zones consider them a safety precaution, Del. Steele also looks at the risk.

“Look at the shooting in Florida where the officer didn’t go in, the government needs to be liable there. They were supposed to protect the kids,” said Del. Steele. “We’re not saying there should be no gun-free zones, what we’re saying is if you create one, it’s your duty to protect the people inside.”

Del. Steele said the bill is still in the beginning stages. He hopes the legislation will be a starting point for a thorough debate on the subject.

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Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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