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SB185 SUB1 Senate Bill 185 History

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SB185 SUB1
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

FOR

Senate Bill No. 185

(By Senators Tomblin, Mr. President, and Caruth,

By Request of the Executive)

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[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;

reported February 18, 2008.]

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A BILL to amend and reenact §61-7-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new article, designated §61-7A-1, §61-7A-2, §61-7A-3, §61-7A-4 and §61-7A-5, all relating to clarifying mental conditions which prohibit firearms' possession; definitions; requiring state registry of persons precluded firearms' possession due to mental condition; authorizing reporting of information to national registry; limitations on use of information; confidentiality; and establishing a procedure for petitioning to regain right to possess a firearm.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §61-7-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §61-7A-1, §61-7A-2, §61-7A-3, §61-7A-4 and §61-7A-5
, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 7. DANGEROUS WEAPONS.

§61-7-7. Persons prohibited from possessing firearms; classifications; reinstatement of rights to possess; offenses; penalties.

(a) Except as provided in this section, no person shall possess a firearm as such is defined in section two of this article who:
(1) Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
(2) Is habitually addicted to alcohol;
(3) Is an unlawful user of or habitually addicted to any controlled substance;
(4) Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution pursuant to the provisions of chapter twenty-seven of this code;
(5) Being Is an alien is illegally or unlawfully in the United States;
(6) Has been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions;
(7) Is subject to a domestic violence protective order that:
(A) Was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
(B) Restrains such person from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
(C)(i) Includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) By its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
(8) Has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of assault or battery either under the provisions of section twenty-eight, article two of this chapter or the provisions of subsection (b) or (c), section nine of said article in which the victim was a current or former spouse, current or former sexual or intimate partner, person with whom the defendant has a child in common, person with whom the defendant cohabits or has cohabited, a parent or guardian, the defendant's child or ward or a member of the defendant's household at the time of the offense or has been convicted in any court of any jurisdiction of a comparable misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or confined in the county jail for not less than ninety days nor more than one year, or both.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any person:
(1) Who has been convicted in this state or any other jurisdiction of a felony crime of violence against the person of another or of a felony sexual offense; or
(2) Who has been convicted in this state or any other jurisdiction of a felony controlled substance offense involving a Schedule I controlled substance other than marijuana, a Schedule II or a Schedule III controlled substance as such are defined in sections two hundred four, two hundred five and two hundred six, article two, chapter sixty-a of this code and who possesses a firearm as such is defined in section two of this article shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in a state correctional facility for not more than five years or fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both. The provisions of subsection (c) of this section shall not apply to persons convicted of offenses referred to in this subsection or to persons convicted of a violation of this subsection.
(c) Any person prohibited from possessing a firearm by the provisions of subsection (a) of this section for a violation of the criminal laws may petition the circuit court of the county in which he or she resides to regain the ability to possess a firearm and if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person is competent and capable of exercising the responsibility concomitant with the possession of a firearm, the court may enter an order allowing the person to possess a firearm if such possession would not violate any federal law.
ARTICLE 7A.

STATE MENTAL HEALTH REGISTRY; REPORTING OF PERSONS PROSCRIBED FROM FIREARM POSSESSION DUE TO MENTAL CONDITION TO THE NATIONAL INSTANT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM; LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS; DEFINITIONS; REPORTING REQUIREMENTS; REINSTATEMENT OF RIGHTS PROCEDURES.
§61-7A-1. Legislative intent.
It is the intention of the Legislature in the enactment of this article to clarify the persons whom it intends to proscribe from the possession of firearms due to substance abuse or mental illness; establish a process in reporting the names of persons proscribed from possession of firearms due to mental illness to the central state mental health registry; authorize reporting by registry to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and to prescribe a means for reinstating one's ability to lawfully possess a firearm.
§61-7A-2. Definitions.
As used in this article and as the terms are deemed to mean in 18 U. S. C. §922(g) and W. Va. Code §61-7-7 as each exists as of the thirty-first day of January, two thousand eight:
(1)"A person adjudicated as a mental defective" means a person who has been determined by a duly authorized court, tribunal, board or other entity to be mentally ill to the point where he or she has been found to be incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness or insanity, has been found not guilty in a criminal proceeding by reason of mental illness or insanity or has been determined to be unable to handle his or her own affairs due to mental illness or insanity.
(2)"Committed to a mental institution" means to have been involuntarily committed for treatment pursuant to the provisions of chapter twenty-seven of this code.
(3)"Mental institution" means any facility or part of a facility used for the treatment of persons committed for treatment of mental illness or addiction.
§61-7A-3.

Persons whose names are to be supplied to the central state mental health registry.
(a)The superintendent of the West Virginia State Police and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, or their designees, shall cooperate with the circuit clerk of each county and Administrator of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in compiling and maintaining a database containing the names and identifying information of persons who have been adjudicated to be mentally defective or who have been committed for treatment of a mental illness pursuant to the provisions of chapter twenty-seven of this code. The registry shall be maintained by the Administrator of the Supreme Court of Appeals or the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police.
(b)The name of any person who has been adjudicated to be mentally defective or who has been committed for treatment of a mental illness pursuant to the provisions of chapter twenty-seven of this code which shall be provided to the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police for inclusion in the central state mental health registry. Upon receipt of the information being received by the central state mental health registry it may be transmitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and to county sheriffs;
(c)The Secretary of Department of Human Resources and the circuit clerk of each county shall, as soon as practicable after the effective date of this article, supply to the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police for inclusion in the central state mental health registry the name and identifying information required by the provisions of subsection (d) of this section of all persons covered by the provisions of this article and shall on an ongoing basis continue to provide such information as it is developed;
(d)The central state mental health registry shall contain the name, address at the time of commitment or adjudication, date of birth, date of commitment or adjudication, any other identifying characteristics and, where feasible, such biometric identification information as may be available.
(e)The central state mental health registry shall provide only such information about a person on the registry to county sheriffs and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System as is necessary to identify registrants; and
(f)On or before the first day of January, two thousand ten, the central state mental health registry shall contain the name, address at the time of commitment or adjudication, date of birth, social security number, date of commitment or adjudication, any other identifying characteristics and, if available, biometric identification information. Under no circumstances shall the registry contain information relating to any diagnosis or treatment provided.
§61-7A-4. Confidentiality; limits on use of registry information.
(a)Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the Superintendent of the State Police, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources and the circuit clerks and the Administrator of the Supreme Court of Appeals may provide notice to the central state mental health registry and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System established pursuant to Section 103(d) of the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, 18 U. S. C. §922, that a person: (i) Has been involuntarily committed as provided in chapter twenty-seven of this code; (ii) has been adjudicated mentally incompetent in a proceeding under article six- a of this chapter; or (iii) has regained the ability to possess a firearm by order of a circuit court in a proceeding under section five of this article.
(b)The information contained in the central state mental health registry is to be used solely for the purpose of records checks related to firearms purchases and for eligibility for a state license or permit to possess or carry a concealed firearm.
(c)Whenever a person's name and other identifying information has been added to the central state mental health registry, a review of the state concealed handgun registry shall be undertaken and if such review reveals that the person possesses a current concealed handgun license, the sheriff of the county issuing the concealed handgun license shall be informed of the person's change in status.
§61-7A-5. Petition to regain right to possess firearms.
(a)Any person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to the provisions of section seven, article seven of this chapter or by provisions of federal law by virtue solely of having previously been adjudicated to be mentally defective or to having a prior final commitment pursuant to chapter twenty-seven of this code may petition the circuit court of the county of his or her residence to regain the ability to lawfully possess a firearm. If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person is competent and capable of exercising the responsibilities concomitant with the possession of a firearm, the court may enter an order allowing the petitioner to possess a firearm.
(b)The circuit clerk of each county shall provide the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police or his or her designee with a certified copy of any order entered pursuant to the provisions of this section. If the order restores the petitioner's ability to possess a firearm, petitioner's name shall be promptly removed from the central state mental health registry and the superintendent shall forthwith inform the Federal Bureau of Investigation or other federal entity operating the National Instant Criminal Background Check System of the court action.

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(NOTE: Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

Article seven-a is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.)
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