Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 3, 2013

Citizens speak out on guns

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEWELL — A full-fledged snowstorm Saturday afternoon didn’t keep people away from the Bluewell Volunteer Fire Department. The Bluewell meeting marked the third in a series of three town hall meetings that State Delegate Clif Moore, D-McDowell, held in his 26th Delegate District.

“I don’t have all the answers,” Moore said to a group of 14 people gathered for the meeting. “I want to make sure that if we have a debate on these issues in Charleston that I know what you think. These issues — school safety and gun control — have grown legs in the past few weeks. I know they are going to be discussed and I want to know what you think.”

The all-male group in attendance did not hold back. When Moore asked: “How many of you in here are packing?” several raised their hands. Only a few said they were members of the National Rifle Association, but all but one or two responded that they had either an “open carry” or a “concealed carry” permit.

“Everyone has a right to carry firearms,” a young man said.

The group freely expressed their feelings on school safety. One man said that schools should only have one access door from the outside, but another man said: “Weren’t the doors locked at Newtown too? The Newtown doors were locked and he still got in.”

Several spoke about the need to keep firearms away from mentally challenged people with a history of violence, and a few argued for a ban on violent video games. When Moore said that eliminating violent games would violate the first amendment, one man said that if the government attacks a citizen’s second amendment rights, the first amendment ought to be taken away too.

Several in the group expressed a mistrust of the media, and others expressed the same kinds of feelings about the government.

“So what I’m hearing here from you is that you are saying no new gun laws, enforce the gun laws already on the books and enforce tighter controls on the access mentally ill people have to firearms.” Moore asked.

The suggestions continued to flow throughout the hour-long meeting while snow piled up on vehicles outside. Moore said about the same number of people attended his earlier town hall sessions at Caretta and Welch.

— Contact Bill Archer at