Letters to the Editor - Feb. 25

February 25, 2011

Responsibility is the key with gun ownership

To the editor:

In a recent letter to the editor, John Schnebly provided an adequate starting point for a discussion on gun ownership and owner responsibility. I would like to draw attention to the fact that rules already exist for both ownership and responsible use of firearms. It is agreed that America is not a battlefield and should not become one for its citizens, but this should not be a reason for denying American citizens one of the most cherished rights of the Constitution — the right to keep and bear arms.

If we form our ideas around the evening news then we are only looking at life through the interpretive lens of the media. When I travel to our neighboring states of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia I know that there may be armed citizens all around me because they have obtained a concealed/carry permit. I have never witnessed fellow citizens shooting each other.

Every responsible gun owner operates within clearly defined guidelines, which are:

1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on the circumstances.

2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

3. Always know your target and what is beyond. Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. Think first. Shoot second.

4. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.  

Along with these safety guidelines there is a background check for small-arms purchases and hunter safety courses that are required by law before purchasing a hunting license.

Owning and handling any firearm is a very serious responsibility — the same as driving a car.

Unfortunately we know that all of the guidelines, safety rules and training are meaningless unless you have responsible individuals applying them. Guns do not kill any more than knives, hammers or cars.  Higher penalties need to be applied to individual people who do not act responsibly and use weapons for criminal purposes.  

Thomas Horvat
Sabillasville, Md.

Legislature should not raise tobacco taxes

To the editor:

What is the legislative leadership in West Virginia smoking to be considering a tobacco tax increase?
The only way that I would vote for it is if those revenues were used to decrease West Virginia’s grocery, gasoline and home heating fuel taxes.
Del. Larry D. Kump
Falling Waters, W.Va.
Editor’s note:
Kump represents District 52 in the West Virginia House of Representatives.

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