The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

April 18, 2013

Gun Bill

It was a bold attempt, but it failed.

Still, the issue must be faced.

Maybe this was the start.

Earlier this month, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., introduced the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, a bill aimed to prevent convicted criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from purchasing guns, while not infringing on law-abiding gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.

Manchin acknowledged the fact that recent tragedies had a hand in bringing the matter to the forefront of discussion in America.

“While the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Conn., has elevated the gun safety conversation, we cannot sacrifice our Constitutional rights out of fear,” he said. “It is our obligation to keep our children safe and to protect our Second Amendment rights — and I truly believe we can and must do both.”

Despite the senator’s urging that the bill was not an infringement on their rights, staunch supporters of the Second Amendment had a hard time believing claims that “the bill will not, in any way, shape, or form infringe upon anyone’s Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms; the bill will not take away anyone’s guns; The bill will not ban any type of firearm; the bill will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine and the bill will not create a national registry; in fact, it explicitly prohibits it,” as promised.

In fact, Manchin delivered remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday morning in a final attempt to urge all Americans (including senators who were preparing to vote in a few hours) “to read and understand the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill while protecting and expanding Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”

The bill was a common sense approach that appeared to seek a significant impact on the issues of violent crimes in America that have ramped up in recent years.

But it was an uphill battle.

Even if it passed in the Senate, by all accounts, it faced a tough go of it in the House.

Manchin stuck his neck out there in a couple of ways — reaching across the aisle in a bipartisan fashion to help draft the bill, for one.

But perhaps most of all, he took on an issue that ignites passion for some of his strongest supporters, gun owners, and the very citizens that put him in office, West Virginians. They may be led to believe that he abandoned the very pro-gun stance that he has flexed proudly in prior elections.

Someone had to step forward, so it must be noted that Manchin and Toomey weren’t afraid to stand up and be the faces of the controversial bill.

Though unsuccessful, our hope is that meaningful dialogue will continue with this important issue and many others.

Our elected political leaders need to be just that, leaders, and stand up and vote like leaders for what is best for America and not disgrace their profession by cowardly voting to protect their re-election.

The gridlock on Capitol Hill has to end.

Perhaps, sparked by this somewhat polarizing bill, lawmakers really can learn again how to work together.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Missing from the show

    If they attended, lawmakers would see strides made by TWV

    July 31, 2014

  • VA breakthrough

    Compromise shows Congress can put partisanship aside for the proper cause

    July 30, 2014

  • Doughnut holes

    Annexation benefits outweigh the taxes

    July 29, 2014

  • The play’s the thing

    TWV twins reveal local riches that can’t be found anywhere else

    July 27, 2014

  • Primary care

    DHHR program weans folks away from the ER

    July 24, 2014

  • Rain? What Rain?

    Community still enjoys auto fair despite uncooperative weather

    July 23, 2014

  • Do tell

    It’s hard to keep a secret in today’s here-a-camera, there-a-camera, everywhere-a-camera world. Whatever one does that is embarrassing is immediately posted on YouTube, Facebook or other social media of choice.

    July 22, 2014

  • Juvenile justice

    West Virginia nearly doubled the rate it sent youths to juvenile facilities from 1997 to 2011, in contrast to declining rates of youthful incarceration elsewhere in the United States.

    July 20, 2014

  • Thumbs — Saturday, July 19, 2014

    July 19, 2014

  • Do something

     Johnstown police have charged three men in the brutal murder early Sunday of a city academy student.

    July 18, 2014