Tomblin Right To Be Concerned
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin reportedly has some reservations about gun-related legislation sent to him for his signature. He should be concerned. In some ways, the bill flies in the face of common sense.
Mountain State residents, in general, probably have more regard for Second Amendment safeguards than people in the vast majority of other states. For that reason, we are sensitive to campaigns at the national level to restrict ownership of firearms.
But we West Virginians also are very protective of children. It is on that point that the law in question is deeply flawed.
Early in the Legislature’s annual regular session, opponents of unnecessarily strict municipal firearms rules decided to insert safeguards into a bill regarding home rule for towns and cities. At first, their additions sought to ban municipalities from restricting firearms in local government buildings. That provision later was stricken to allow municipalities to continue rules against guns in places such as the City-County Building in Wheeling.
But another very questionable provision stayed in the bill as it was approved by both houses of the Legislature and forwarded to the governor.
It provides that cities cannot prohibit people with concealed carry permits from taking firearms into local government recreation centers, even those in which education facilities such as after-school programs are located. The only requirement is that those carrying guns must keep them out of view and away from access by others.
Think for a moment about what that means: The bill, by allowing municipalities to ban guns inside buildings where government business is done, safeguards adults inside those facilities. It offers no similar protection to children in recreation centers.
That makes no sense at all.
Surely legislators could have found a way to stand up for the Second Amendment without, in effect, making it the law of the land that bureaucrats in city buildings are entitled to gun-free environments – but children at play are not.