Citizens beware of Senate Bill, No. 198

Gun lobby wants deadly weapons to be kept secret

No one that we editors know wants to negate the U.S. Constitution's 2nd Amendment, which guarantees our citizens: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." At the same time, and with every constitutional right, there are certain inherent responsibilities that accrue to it.

In the case of the 2nd Amendment, it was never meant by the Founding Fathers to give citizens the right to stockpile arsenals of deadly and illegal weapons and ammunitions in their basements, a fact of life that's being uncovered by law enforcement authorities almost every day throughout America. Such activities by psychotic individuals, both young and old, have led to the rampaging murders of many innocent people, notably 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech, 26 elementary school students and faculty at Newtown, CT, eight youngsters at the rural Amish School in Pennsylvania, and several constituents listening to their Congresswoman in AZ, among other tragic shootings. We editors are certain that our constitutional drafters of the late 18th century did not foresee such butchery taking place all in the name of our Bill of Rights' 2nd Amendment - the right of people to bear arms.

Yet, owning to the respect and validity for this right, the American taxpayers of the 21st century are paying a very high price, particularly in the hiring of security guards for our schools from the elementary level all the way through college, in purchasing and installing very costly surveillance devices in those schools, and in tightly controlling (or preventing) the general public's and press's access to them and other public buildings, even in small towns like Glenville. Yes, a general fear has sadly taken over our American educational and public agency systems, because of those mentally ill, gun totting potential murderers who hide in their lairs with stockpiles of legal and illegal weapons ... just awaiting the opportunity to vent all of their frustrations, delusions and ill-conceived animosities out on, almost always, the innocents in our communities.

Right now, what worries us editors everywhere across this great country is that the National Rifle Association (NRA), a gun rights advocate, is stepping up its long desired campaign to take away the general public's "right to know." Indeed, whomever possesses these deadly weapons is a matter of each citizen's concern and safety. To the contrary, State Senate Bill, No. 198, which is sponsored by one of our Gilmer County State Senators (Mr. Jeffrey Kessler-D-Marshall), proposes to conceal from the public the court records of who owns these deadly weapons. While, perhaps, only one percent of Americans carry concealed and deadly weapons, these are the people whom relatives, neighbors and friends ought to know about.

As a result, we editors urge our State Senators, particularly those sitting on the Judiciary Committee, to show fortitude in standing up against this nationwide and Mountain State's NRA initiative to make all of us gun loving, but law abiding citizens blind to other community members who may be a threat to either us or society by carrying concealed weapons. It would therefore be prudent, courageous and the right thing to do for our State Senators and State Delegates (if necessary) to vote "No" to Senate Bill No. 198 in order to insure the public's safety, well-being and peace of mind.