Guest column: Protecting citizens’ rights

As the 2013 regular session of the 81st legislature is coming to a close, I am pleased to say a number of bills that I have sponsored and worked on have cleared the House of Delegates and have been introduced to the State Senate. House Bill 2534 is being considered by Senate committees and involves the requirement of pawnbrokers to ask for photo identification when a person comes into a pawnshop wishing to sell an item or items. Another bill I have sponsored, HB 2471, entails that our second amendment rights are protected during a state of emergency. I have put forth great efforts towards the passage of each of these pieces of legislation and I believe that House Bills 2534 and 2471 will help to ensure the safety of West Virginia citizens.

Along with the photo identification requirement, House Bill 2534 entails that pawnbrokers keep detailed records of each transaction made, either on paper or electronically. HB 2534 is a proactive response to home invasions across the state. The measures within this legislation hopefully will deter criminals from breaking into homes and stealing belongings of residents just to turn around and sell the stolen items at pawnshops. This bill implies that a person will be recorded upon the purchase of an item and his or her information to be shared with law enforcement in the event of an investigation regarding stolen property.

As a member of the National Rifle Association, I believe in and support our second amendment rights. Speaker of the House Rick Thompson, Majority Leader Brent Boggs, Delegate Tim Miley and myself have worked closely with NRA WV Liaison, Daniel Carey, to ensure West Virginia citizens never have second amendment rights taken away. It was brought to our attention by the NRA that during Hurricane Katrina citizens were forced to surrender weapons in their homes because the law was unclear in code. House Bill 2471 was introduced to make West Virginia laws clear that even during a state of emergency second amendment rights cannot be threatened in any way. House Bill 2471 has successfully passed both bodies of the West Virginia Legislature and will be completed upon the signature of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

It is imperative that the Legislative Branch of Government is well informed of concerns of residents throughout West Virginia. House Bills 2534 and 2471 were drafted and introduced to address issues brought to my attention and establishes laws to better protect West Virginia citizens. Ensuring the well-being of residents is one of the many responsibilities I will always remain steadfast on.

Stop by if you are in Charleston. Contact information: Facebook page: Randy Swartzmiller, or follow me on Twitter: @WV_Delegate, or my e-mail: or write to: Randy Swartzmiller, State Delegate, Room 242, Building 1 State Capitol Complex Charleston, WV 25305 or call, Capitol Office: 304.340.3138 or Mobile: 304.479.5140

(Swartzmiller is the speaker pro tempore of the House of Delegates, and represents the 1st District, including Hancock County and parts of Brooke County)