The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

May 5, 2013

Background checks

There has been a lot said lately about The Public Safety And Second Amendment Rights Protection Act.

The amendment, authored by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., went down to defeat last month, falling short of passage in the Senate by a mere five votes.

We’ve heard about it from the politicians.

We’ve heard about it from the afternoon talk show hosts.

We’ve heard about it from the evening newscasters.

We’ve heard about it from the commentators on weekend news shows.

Social media have been abuzz on the topic for the last month.

Your neighbors, friends and co-workers have likely voiced their opinions, whether you’ve offered them your ear or not.

But Manchin believes it’s time to read it for yourself.

And we agree. Our hope is that our readers will take the time to read it for themselves.

An online link to the text of the amendment is provided at the end of this column.

Manchin told The Register-Herald editorial staff Thursday that he fully intends to proceed with plans to revive the legislation in the near future.

Simply, Manchin believes that if you are a law-abiding gun owner, you’ll be in favor of the bill. If you are a criminal or if you have been mentally adjudicated through the courts, you won’t.

According to a number of recent polls, somewhere between 70 percent and 90 percent of the public is in favor of expanded background checks that would target criminals and the mentally challenged.

But yet, not enough senators were convinced for passage.

Manchin even insists that if the National Rifle Association would put the amendment on its website for its members to review, the majority would be in favor of it.

He is not going to give up on this.

He said he believes that although only five more votes are needed, that there are up to 12 senators who will change their votes.

How will this legislation affect gun violence in America, which seems to be on the rise each passing year?

There are no certainties in life; that is understood.

Criminals hell-bent on committing violent acts are going to always be a threat.

But why not diminish the likelihood of their rampage ending in senseless violence against innocent people, by having in place a system that denies or even delays their access to weapons?

The bill just makes sense.

There’s been so much rhetoric spewed forth, it has added only confusion.

Research it.

Review it.

It’s the absolute best way to form an educated opinion.

To check it all out, go to www.manchin.senate.gov and follow the links.

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