A former state Republican Party Chairman says gun owners are not criminals and they should not be treated as such.
“The Second Amendment means something to a lot of people in this country and law abiding citizens are going to use their guns in a responsible fashion,” Mike Stuart said on Tuesday’s MetroNews Talkline.
He says U.S. Senator Joe Manchin needs to be clear about what exactly he means when he calls for limits on the availability of assault weapons in the wake of last week’s shootings of 20 kids and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Investigators say the shooter, Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire on an entire class of young students before killing himself. He had earlier killed his mother, Nancy. One of his guns was an assault style rifle.
Stuart says a lot of people are paying attention to what Senator Manchin says is saying about gun control this week.
“He’s a Senator from West Virginia, a state that so much loves its outdoorsmen, it’s sportsmanship, and we are law abiding citizens for the most part,” he said of the weight Senator Manchin’s statements about gun control carry.
“Being from West Virginia, being a so called ‘devout conservative,’ provides great, pardon the pun, ammunition to those folks who want to limit the ability of law abiding citizens to have guns.”
Stuart says the focus, in the coming weeks and days, needs to be on strengthening background checks and increasing information sharing, not on limiting gun ownership for people who use the weapons responsibly.
A nationwide ban on assault weapons expired in 2004.
West Virginia’s senior U.S. Senator, Jay Rockefeller, says he first voted for the ban in 1994 and would do so again. He said the following in a statement issued this week:
“West Virginia has a proud hunting tradition and respect for the Second Amendment. But most hunters I talk with know that prohibiting the use of military grade weapons or clips that can fire dozens of rounds in a matter of seconds will not impact those traditions, nor do they have a place on our streets,” Senator Rockefeller said.
“We need to pass a bill that will again prohibit such weapons.”
California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, says she will introduce legislation that would ban assault weapons in January.