Legislative column: Protecting our Second Amendment rights

I always have and always will work to protect and strengthen our Second Amendment rights. I have drafted and worked on legislation that is now in front of the House that strengthens our second amendment right to bear arms. House Bill 4431 (HB 4431) will require West Virginia Natural Resource Officers to have secondary evidence that individuals carrying firearms in the woods are actually hunting rather than simply exercising their right to bear arms before asking to see a hunting license. Secondary evidence could include evidence that a person has harvested game or other hunting equipment that would be conducive of actually hunting. If a person wishes to take a walk in the woods and carry his or her gun for protection, he or she should not have to obtain a hunting license to justify it. West Virginia has an open carry policy; therefore, an individual should not be restricted from carrying freely. I worked closely with representatives of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources in drafting this legislation and appreciate their support on this bill.

I also had the honor of welcoming members of Leadership Weirton to the State Capitol. We were able to discuss the legislative process and the day-to-day activities of the House, and I answered questions from the leaders of Weirton. The members of Leadership Weirton represent numerous businesses in Brooke and Hancock County that continue to invest in the growth of their employees. The members are committed to learning and sharing information that can help them better serve their respective professions and customers. I am truly grateful to have these dedicated community members take interest in my work at the State Capitol. It is essential that motivated individuals like the members of Leadership Weirton remain active in community affairs. These hard-working leaders provide the drive that allows our community to flourish.

Finally, Delegate Ronnie Jones and I were happy to meet with Mayor George Kondik and Councilman Chuck Wright of the City of Weirton this week at the State Capitol. We were able to discuss issues that are important to the city of Weirton, its businesses, and its citizens. I always enjoy meeting with representatives from our cities and learning new ways that we can help improve our communities by working together.

Contact information: Facebook page: Randy Swartzmiller, or follow me on Twitter: @WV_Delegate; or my e-mail: rswartzmiller@gmail.com or write to: Randy Swartzmiller, State Delegate, Room 242, Building 1 State Capitol Complex Charleston, WV 25305; or call my 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)