Opinion

What gun lobby continues to miss

An editorial from The Dominion Post 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An accidental shooting here, a stolen gun there, and felons in possession of firearms everywhere, and what have you got?

That’s not a riddle and if it were there certainly would be no easy answer to it.

What it is, is an at-a-glance summary of reports Thursday around the state and in our backyard this month concerning firearms.

Where to start? Why not with the only gun crime that’s currently on trial.

* In that case, a former Berkeley County deputy is charged with taking more than $5,000 worth of firearms from the sheriff ’s office during a five-year period. The 32-year veteran deputy, who retired in January 2014, is accused of felony embezzlement and fraudulent scheme.

* Then there’s the felon who accidentally shot himself with a firearm in the Brookhaven area. He was facing a weapons charge and parole violation as a result of that incident.

* In another Berkeley County incident, after one patient was treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound, police searched a Bunker Hill man’s home. Police discovered a cache of 19 firearms in his home. Owning any number of firearms is legal, but it turns out that man was also a felon,
who was convicted of second-degree murder in 1996.

* This past week, after a yearlong investigation, authorities declared there will be no criminal charges in the accidental shooting of an 11-year-old Marion County boy by his 13-year-old brother. The two boys and their 8-year-old brother were playing in the bedroom they shared with a gun their father legally bought.

* Kanawha County schools officials suspended a high school math teacher recently who is charged with a gun violation. A federal grand jury returned an indictment that accuses her of illegally buying a gun for a felon from a Marmet shop.

We could continue listing other gun crimes and tragedies in recent weeks and months, but that’s not the point here.

The point is that in each of these incidents and thousands of similar ones, the firearms were stolen, illegally purchased, or minors had access to deadly weapons.

We ’re not sure if there’s a pecking order about gun safety and weapons charges.

But ensuring children are never put at risk from a firearm and denying felons access to firearms tops our list, respectively.

We realize most gun owners and the authorities go beyond the call to enforce such rules and laws.

However, the gun lobby appears more interested in championing that industry’s profit margin than actual gun safety or public safety.

That perhaps is the most disturbing and largest part of this puzzle that’s missing.

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