It’s not about guns

With only a few days remaining in West Virginia’s legislative session, the state Senate has an opportunity to stop a bill which would reduce the public’s access to some government records.

On several occasions now, we’ve discussed the issues surrounding House Bill 4310, a piece of legislation which would make concealed carry gun permits and applications confidential except for law enforcement purposes.

Last week, the bill was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Delegates. As of Tuesday afternoon, it was sitting before the Senate Judiciary Committee where it must be approved prior to going before the full Senate for a vote.

A similar bill previously appeared before senators, and was pushed back in defeat. We can only hope the same fate will befall the legislation passed by our delegates.

This is not about guns. Residents will not have their Second Amendment rights infringed upon in any way. People will still be able to purchase guns and obtain concealed carry permits just as they have for years.

This is an issue of access to government records. Closing off the access of the people to any government record puts us on a slippery slope we do not want to see West Virginia head down. It may be concealed carry permits now, but what comes next? What is to stop lawmakers from then cutting off access to property records, police reports, government financial reports, court dockets or many other types of government information?

Every aspect of the government’s business is the people’s business, and the people should be able to have access to it.

With only a few more days remaining, we hope the Senate keeps this in mind and does what is right for all West Virginians.