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this weeks edition:
It's the principle that counts...
It’s not often that Brent Boggs and I disagree. One of those rare occasions happened this week. The Press Association alerted its members to HB 4310 when it was first introduced. Attempted to hide what the government is doing is something that I am staunchly against. I oppose it at nearly every level. It is against our founding fathers objectives. Our own state constitution says that our elected officials are not elected to decide what is best for us to know. All of this points to my objection in principle to HB4310. A commentary by the Wheeling newspaper made some very good points… here is a small portion: “Attempts to keep the people from learning what their government is doing behind closed doors often are framed by special interests as steps to rein in the imaginary monolith described as `the media.’ It just is not so. Like the people we serve, West Virginia newspapers are incredibly diverse. But on one issue - the people’s right to know what government is doing - we are firmly united. At every level of government, the desire to limit access to information by both the press and individuals is enormous.”
I have listened to the arguments to close the records and I am not swayed. The main push is from a well-funded, very powerful lobby and that too concerns me.
Regular readers of this publication know that we do not publish the public records pertaining to concealed carry permits which is what HB 4310 seeks to make unaccessable. The information should be accessible if the pubic finds reason to review it. Being able to examine those lists is important. Perhaps a reporter needs to spot check trends affecting public safety or even to ensure a county sheriff is being conscientious in approving permits. Reporters may even need to check on compliance of gun owners who would claim to hold a concealed carry permit.
I have a number of guns… some with very important sentimental value, like the Model 1911 that my Dad brought back from WWII. I like to shoot. I have a concealed carry permit that allows me to legally carry a fire arm, if I feel the necessity. So, it’s not like I’m anti-gun. Like the majority of West Virginian’s I whole heartedly support the Second Amendment. I consider myself a responsible gun owner.
I am very disappointed in the NRA for mounting this fight to hide the names of those who obtain these legal licenses for concealed carry. I think it goes against many of the principals that the organization was founded on. Even more I regret the bullying tactics that surfaced during the House of Delegates consideration of this minor bill. After all it doesn’t seek to take away rights to bear arms.
I sent emails to my delegates and several others that were identified as supporters of the bill. I didn’t threaten them, I just reintegrated my feelings that we couldn’t trade one Constitutional right, (the Second Amendment) for another (Free Speech).
The Wheeling Intelligencer summed it up rather well, “...many Mountain State residents do have deep suspicions about being told what government does is none of our business - especially when it involves an activity such as bearing arms that politicians have decided they should regulate.”
Will return soon...