Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., met with Barbour County officials at the county's Community Corrections Facility Wednesday to have a round-table discussion about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the one giving citizens the right to bear arms.
Although it's not the first roundtable discussion McKinley has hosted, he said it was the first on this topic.
"This is the first one we're doing on the Second Amendment on this gun issue, because of what happened at Sandy Hook," McKinley said, referring to the tragic Connecticut school shootings in December. "We want to hear 'What are we really talking about; what is the solution to it?' So I'm kind of laying the groundwork here a little bit."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Congressman David McKainley met with Barbour County officials at the county’s Community Corrections facility to discuss gun control issues.
Sheriff John Hawkins, Philippi Police Chief Jeff Walters, Superintendent of Barbour County Schools Dr. Joe Super and other local officials were in attendance, ready to fire off their questions, comments or concerns regarding gun control. Pam Krushansky, a field representative for Congressman McKinley, also was in attendance.
"There's no preconceived notion of what we expect. There's no expected outcome, but I want to make sure that if nothing else, that I've heard from Joe (Super) with the school system," McKinley said.
Media members were allowed into the discussion for the first 10 minutes, but were informed by Krushansky they would then be asked to leave so that officials could freely express their opinions and concerns.
"Congressman McKinley was truly open to hearing concerns that Barbour County officials had related to pending federal gun legislation," Super said after the meeting.
There is no word yet on any future round-table discussions taking place on the topic of gun control.
"We're going to hold these kinds of meetings, and we're going to try to bring Washington back into the district and hear what's on your mind (regarding) the issues you may have been hearing some about," McKinley said. "We're trying to put some meat on the bone to it, or respond back and also hear the issues you're raising."
McKinley said he estimates he has conducted as many as 40 other round-table discussions on a variety of topics, such as organized labor, business leaders and senior citizens. He said the purpose of the discussions is to understand what is going on in those areas.
McKinley said that when talking with senior citizens, they often don't want to focus on senior citizen issues. The topics that appear to weigh on their mind often involve health care and gun control.
"I don't have all the answers. Anyone that says that they do, they're being disingenuous," he said, adding that until he served 16 years in the state Legislature, he had no idea what was going on in Washington.
He told Barbour County officials that a judge once told him how he would deal with the gun control issue. McKinley didn't name the judge, but said he proposed that owners of guns be required to keep them locked up.
"He said there ought to be a way that we can force people to lock their guns up," McKinley said, adding that if guns were locked up, it could have prevented recent events.
How would law enforcement be able to enforce such a law? McKinley raised the question during his initiation of the round-table discussion. Would law enforcement be permitted to enter homes to ensure that guns are safely and properly locked away?
McKinley said the solution to the gun control issue is not as easy as writing a new bill.
"We're stymied with a couple things," McKinley said.
He said one of them is President Barack Obama "using an executive order more than anyone else has done, forcing Congress to try to respond by passing resolutions to rescind the executive order."
"It has to be adopted by the Senate, and then the Senate doesn't take it up," he continued. "Congress now is in an interesting fork in the road in how it deals with the President that is going to issue its own orders. We can't block them. We can't stop them."