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Jefferson County delegate votes against bill calling for repeal of local gun control laws

Skinner: 'We need some common sense'

March 11, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Stephen Skinner
Stephen Skinner

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Jefferson County Democrat Stephen Skinner was one of only four members of the West Virginia House of Delegates — all Democrats — who voted against a bill calling for the repeal of local gun control laws.

The bill passed the House 94-4 with two members absent.

Democrats siding with Skinner in opposition were three delegates who represent the city of Charleston, W.Va.

Gun control laws in Martinsburg, W.Va., which ban guns on city-owned property, are similar to those of three other West Virginia cities the bill would affect.

Skinner said he was surprised that the bill passed by such a wide margin.

“It really bothers some that counties and municipalities can’t even make their own laws,” he said.

If the bill becomes law, people will be able to carry guns into public places like city parks and ice rinks, he said.

“We need some common sense,” he said.

“It saddens me to see all the gun-control bills being proposed in the West Virginia House of Delegates,” he said. “There’s a gun panic going on with everyone trying to outdo the other. West Virginia has the loosest gun laws in the country,” he said.

“I’d like to see all the states take a breath. Nobody wants to take anyone’s guns away. I’ll vote for any good Second Amendment bill,” he said.

“We’re not even talking about the real problem of mental health after what happened in Connecticut,” Skinner said.

Del. Tiffany Lawrence, Jefferson County’s other Democrat in the House, voted for the bill. She could not be reached for comment Monday night.

Republican Del. Eric Householder, who represents Berkeley County’s 64th District, was among his House colleagues who voted for the gun bill.

“I voted for it because I don’t think cities and municipalities should be able to enact their own gun control laws,” he said. “If they do, they overstep and infringe on everyone’s Second Amendment rights.”

Householder said the bill makes “everything uniform and equal. If one city says it’s OK to carry guns into a restaurant and the next one doesn’t, it creates problems.”

Jason Barrett, a freshman House Democrat from Berkeley County, could not be reached.

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