CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Mayor Danny Jones is not looking for a continued gun fight. He’s pledging to be less vocal on gun issues during his final term in office.
“I’ve got choices to make here,” Jones said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “Some great things are going to happen in Charleston in the next three years and eight months and I want to be able to focus on those things.”
Jones, a Republican, was re-elected to a 4th, four-year term on Saturday with 62 percent of the vote to Democrat Paul Monroe’s 34 percent and just more than three percent for William Carpenter, an independent.
During his campaign, Monroe had support from several gun-rights advocacy groups, some from outside of West Virginia, that targeted Jones who has been an adamant opponent of a 2014 state law that removed a municipality’s power to ban guns on most city-owned property.
Jones has pushed back, claiming the law wrongly allows guns in city-owned recreational centers, including those that host school activities like Head Start. A lawsuit challenging the law is pending and, Jones said, he remains optimistic Charleston will prevail.
Over the years, he has worked against other changes to city gun regulations.
However, Jones said he would not be out front on future gun issues the way he has been in the past.
“There’s just no reason to continue this,” he said. “The views on guns with me – an urban guy, a city guy – are different than people that don’t live in the cities and this state is run by people who live in rural areas.”
Earlier this year, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a bill the Legislature approved that would have lifted the permit requirement to carry a concealed gun in West Virginia.
Asked if he will be speaking out if the measure is proposed again next year: “No, no, because they have the votes,” Jones responded.
“I would like for them, all the guns people and the 2nd Amendment folks, to try to keep in perspective the problem we have here with guns and drugs and the urban areas are different, so I would hope they would at least consider our needs when they craft this legislation.”
During his post-election interview with Hoppy Kercheval, Jones publicly apologized for his son, Zachary, 25, who has been arrested multiple times. According to Jones, his son has struggled with drug addiction.
Jones was also critical of the 14.6 voter turnout in Charleston’s city election. “It’s wrong,” he said of the thousands of people who did not vote. “I can’t wait to vote. I like to vote and I like to express myself.”
Jones has served as Charleston’s mayor since 2003. His 4th term, he has said, will be his final one.