The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

March 22, 2013

House calls for strong mental health system

Criminals and the deranged — not law-abiding gun owners across the fruited plain — are responsible for the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary and bloodshed in other mass killings, the West Virginia House of Delegates declared Thursday.

In a bipartisan resolution, offered by Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, and 47 of his colleagues, the House urged Congress to stand by the 2nd Amendment rights to own and bear arms.

House Resolution No. 18 also called on Congress to “focus on the strengthening the areas of mental health diagnosis and treatment.”

Ever since the massacre at the Newtown, Conn., anti-gun forces have sought to restrict ownership, triggering a backlash among gun owners.

The resolution says millions of citizens own firearms and use them in a safe, responsible and legal fashion and that investigations of mass murder “most often leads us” to the underlying cause of disturbed persons.

“The real issue, the real threat, is dangerous criminals and the seriously mentally ill who need supervision and treatment,” the resolution said.

“Violent behavior by individuals suffering from various forms of mental illness is the true issue that warrants the focus of our nation’s president and Congress.”

Delegates have passed HB2760 that would erase gun control ordinances adopted in Charleston, South Charleston, Nitro and Martinsburg — an update of a 1982 law that forbids restrictions on firearm ownership by a municipality.

Meantime, the House made short shrift of a trio of bills in a prelude to the stormy showdown on five amendments in the education package.

One clarifies and alters the process of naming and terminating guardians for minors. A second one changes the meetings for multi-disciplinary teams for minors assigned to the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services. And the third spells out that time-sharing plans, accommodations and facilities may be regulated by the Division of Land Sales and Condominiums.

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