America needs a good discussion, not seemingly inevitable political posturing.
The issue is gun violence, and the catalyst is the school shootings in December that led to the deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama urged Congress to require background checks for all gun sales and ban both military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Most of the measures, as The Associated Press reported, are opposed by the National Rifle Association and face a doubtful future in a divided Congress where Republicans control the House.
Obama also signed 23 executive actions, including orders to make more federal data available for background checks and end a freeze on government research on gun violence. Other steps Obama took include ordering tougher penalties for people who lie on background checks, requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations, and ordering a review of safety standards for gun locks and gun safes.
The president’s proposals also include a $150 million request to Congress that would allow schools to hire 1,000 new police officers, counselors and psychologists. The White House plan also includes legislative and executive action to increase mental health services, including boosting funding for training aimed at getting young people into treatment more quickly.
Pro-gun forces, the AP reported, have long suggested that violent images in video games and entertainment are more to blame for mass shootings than the availability of guns. Obama’s proposal calls on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research links between violent images and gun attacks.
“The president today announced a strong, comprehensive plan to protect our citizens from gun violence,” Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said in a statement released Wednesday. “In West Virginia, we have a proud tradition of hunting and understand the importance of the Second Amendment. We can protect those traditions and rights as we look at ways to prevent senseless acts of violence.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., noted that “I am disappointed that the president did not recommend the creation of the national commission on mass violence that I have proposed. A national commission can build the consensus we need for real action backed not only by gun-control advocates, mental health experts and entertainment industry executives but also by law-abiding gun owners who fully understand the history and heritage of firearms in America. Violence destroys the dignity, hopes and lives of millions of Americans, and we have a unique opportunity to stop this epidemic – but only if we can put politics aside and have an honest and effective conversation about what to do about our culture of mass violence.”
A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows just how difficult building consensus on the gun issue will be.
Some 58 percent favor strengthening gun laws in the United States. Just 5 percent felt such laws should be loosened, while 35 percent said they should be left unchanged.
Specifically, majorities in the new poll favored a nationwide ban on military-style, rapid-fire guns (55 percent) and limits on the amount and type of gun violence that can be portrayed in video games, movies or on television (54 percent). About half (51 percent) of those surveyed back a ban on the sale of magazines holding 10 or more bullets.
A lopsided 84 percent of adults would like to see the establishment of a federal standard for background checks for people buying guns at gun shows. At the same time 51 percent said that they believed laws limiting gun ownership infringe on the public’s Second Amendment right to possess and carry firearms. Among Republicans, 75 percent cited such infringement.
Most Democrats (76 percent) and independents (60 percent) back stricter gun laws, while a majority of Republicans (53 percent) want gun laws left alone.
Obama conceded that “the only way we can change is if the American people demand it.”
We need a national conversation where real, workable ideas are presented, and we understand that law-abiding people indeed have a right to have guns and confront the enormous difficulty of keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and others who shouldn’t legally have them.
In the best of circumstances, building consensus will be a monumental challenge. In an all-out political confrontation, it will be virtually impossible.
America needs a good discussion, not seemingly inevitable political posturing.
Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease
“Preventable, but not curable.”
That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
He could also use the word “deadly.”
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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