Keeping Public Buildings Safe

Local residents seem to understand the ban on weapons, including guns and knives, in the City-County Building in Wheeling. It just makes sense, given the government offices located there and the types of activities in the facility. We have heard no complaints, even from staunch defenders of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

But gun rights activists seem to be worried that some municipalities and counties in West Virginia will establish rules that infringe on Second Amendment rights. To that end, several proposals during the state Legislature’s current session are aimed at preventing such action.

Some of them may make it more difficult for cities and counties to keep public areas such as the City-County Building secure, Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie worries. Some proposed legislation could mean “any person would be able to bring a loaded gun into this building,” he told Wheeling City Council on Tuesday.

It is highly doubtful legislators behind the gun rights proposals had that intention. If they did, they are wrong.

If, however, the problem is merely a need to fine-tune language of the gun-rights bills, lawmakers should attend to that. In the case of the City-County Building, it appears minor tinkering with the bills in question would resolve McKenzie’s concerns.

Most West Virginia legislators would be worried at the thought of guns being allowed in the House of Delegates and state Senate spectator galleries. That ought to make it easy for them to empathize with concerns such as McKenzie’s.

Gun rights, like many other liberties, certainly are important. They should be safeguarded. But surely that can be accomplished while at the same time keeping public buildings in West Virginia safe and secure.