For public safety, keep firearm permits in place

An editorial from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — The new Republican majority in the West Virginia Legislature has done a good job about bringing the Mountain State in more harmonious accord with most of the other 49 U.S. states, but a bill that has moved through the Senate pretty quickly — S.B. 347, the Firearms Act of 2015 — sticks out like a sore thumb in the context of the reforms that state legislators have been addressing thus far in the 2015 session.

As purely a Second Amendment issue, Americans have a right to bear arms. It’s a right that many West Virginians hold to with great strength. Many West Virginians grew up in circumstances where wild game was part of their regular diet, and venison was the other red meat. In those instances, parents taught firearm safety and made the lessons stick. Many West Virginians learned firearm safety during their enlistment in the armed services, and to those men and women we all owe our eternal thanks.

 But the world has changed, and many young people only experience firearms from within the confines of a computer, television or movie screen. There is no consequence when the character in a movie that a star like former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is terminated, because he can be resurrected in time for a sequel. In real life, a firearm death — whether intentional or accidental — is permanent.

The existing concealed carry permitting process in West Virginia requires a basic training class in the safe use of firearms. The smell of gun oil is real, and a certified instructor emphasizes safety steps that every firearm owner should remember and exercise.

The existing concealed carry permitting process provides an additional layer of screening…


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