Local lawmakers respond to gun measures

WHEELING – Local members of Congress say they won’t support any legislation infringing on the right of eligible Americans to own a gun.

They responded to proposals announced Wednesday by President Barack Obama aimed at curbing gun violence across the nation.

“I, along with every other American, agree that what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School is a human tragedy,” said Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, Ohio. “I support efforts that will improve the identification, diagnosis and treatment of individuals who face serious mental health challenges. I will not support any legislation or executive action that seeks to limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Rep. David B. McKinley, R-Wheeling, has joined House colleagues in a letter to Obama expressing their opposition to any legislation prohibiting gun rights.

“Limiting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens will not change the behavior of those determined to use firearms to commit horrific crimes,” said McKinley.

He said the president chooses to ignore this while abusing executive power and avoiding the legislative process.

“There are no easy solutions to gun violence, and we should not respond rashly or try to politicize any tragedy. … We need to enforce the gun laws already in place and review existing laws, change how government and society deal with mental illness and address violence in popular culture,” he added.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., plans to introduce legislation next week to study the impact of violent video games and video programming on children, his office said Wednesday.

“In West Virginia, we have a proud tradition of hunting and understand the importance of the Second Amendment,” Rockefeller said. “We can protect those traditions and rights as we look at ways to prevent senseless acts of violence.”

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-Charleston, added West Virginians want leaders in Washington to work together to reduce gun violence across America.

“That’s why I am disappointed that President Obama issued an executive order today instead of showing willingness to work with Congress and state leaders to address this serious issue,” she said. “Whether appointing czars to run car companies, using the EPA to regulate where it can legislate or using executive orders to circumvent Congress on gun control, the president has displayed a worrisome willingness to use the White House to advance ideological agendas.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, said he is still weighing the recommendations made by Obama.

“However, I am disappointed that the president did not recommend the creation of the national commission on mass violence that I have proposed,” he said. “A national commission can build the consensus we need for real action backed not only by gun control advocates, mental health experts and entertainment industry executives but also by law-abiding gun owners who fully understand the history and heritage of firearms in America.”