CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — It’s the week after the deadly school shooting in Texas, and people are still wrestling with how to address the problem of mass killings.
That includes leaders here in West Virginia. Officials are every level of government from local to federal are struggling with this.
About the only thing many leaders agree on, is that solutions to mass violence aren’t easy, and likely won’t happen fast.
Given the strength of the nation’s gun lobby, and the fact that this is an election year, means progress might be difficult.
West Virginia leaders believe schools here are safe, but some wonder if it might be time to raise the age, to buy certain weapons.
“We absolutely know that mental health issues today are rampant. Why are we not doing something about it? We absolutely know that without any question, to me at least, that why in the world is an 18-year-old buying an assault weapon?” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) – West Virginia.
“You can’t buy a glass of wine until you’re 21 if you go to a restaurant, but you can go out and buy a weapon if you will. There has to be an age and also qualifications of the performance, taking classes. Those type of things are reasonable,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, (D) – West Virginia.
West Virginia’s Catholic Bishop Mark Brennan has called on Governor Justice to hold a Special Session of the Legislature to ban assault weapons in the Mountain State.
Justice is lukewarm to the idea of a Special Session, saying this can’t be just about guns, and that it needs to include mental illness, violent video games, internet threats and other factors that may escalate to violence.
The West Virginia Secretary of Homeland Security believes steps have been taken at the federal, state and local levels to ensure mountain state schools are safe.