CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Monongalia County Delegate Joe Statler is ready to vote on a controversial measure within a week after voting no on another earlier this week.

After becoming the lone Republican against House Bill 4654 (Library and Museum Obscenity Bill), Statler is ready to vote for an amended version of House Bill 4299, which would allow for teachers to have firearms in school. In the amended version of the bill on the floor for passage, teachers would be allowed to carry firearms on a volunteer basis after several provisions were accounted for.

“They have to volunteer to do it, they have to take training, they have to have a background check,” Statler said. “There are a lot of things in place that they have to do.”

Before HB 4299 was taken to the House floor for a vote, amendments were made that focused on both what it would take for teachers to be allowed to carry firearms in schools and what say a county school board would have in allowing the option. To address this, an amendment was proposed that would explicitly state that a county board of education would allow the teacher to carry a firearm if they pass the appropriate training. In support of more county control, Statler mentioned concerns of supporting the amendment.

“If you tell the school board “they shall,” allow them to do it I have big concerns with that,” Statler said. ” I think it changes the complexion of the bill all together.”

Mandated training with school resource officers was one of the major sticking points for Statler as part the fourth try a measure like H.B. 4299 has been considered in the House. Statler also didn’t express which way he was going to vote ahead of amendments to the bill passing Tuesday. While he expressed a desire to keep schools safe, Statler also feels the bill is far from perfect and could improve not only how county school systems can respond, but the training process as well.

“Just because someone volunteers to do this, to carry a weapon in the school, doesn’t mean they are the best person to have that weapon in the school,” Statler said.

Statler voted no on House Bill 4654 on aspects regarding the penalties that could be levied against library staff if obscene material is exposed to children. The bill, implements criminal penalties of up to $25,000 for the “willfully and/or knowingly distribution of obscene material,” has been considered a hot-button topic issue among West Virginia librarians. Statler viewed the complicated aspects of what is considered willful and knowingly and it’s influence on county library staff as a reason to vote no.

“There was just so much fear out there of what could happen or what would happen that I felt we weren’t ready to move this legislation forward,” Statler said. “I think we need to work it a little more and get some buy-in from the librarians.”

Aside from the penalty aspect, Statler supported the majority of what was placed in H.B. 4654. He added that this no-vote was one of the toughest decisions of his career, primarily due to his agreement with the majority that ways to limit a child’s exposure to obscene material should be explored. Despite that, he is firm on his vote and is ready to vote on H.B. 4299, which is set to pass out of the House of Delegates on Wednesday.

“I took my vote the way I did and I would be willing to come up there and stand on the courthouse square and go toe-to-toe with anybody as to why I made this decision,” Statler said.