Making threats is no reason to kill gun bill

When I was in the third grade, I remember an incident where a classmate shot a spitball that stuck to the blackboard while the teacher had her back to the class. She was writing a lesson on the board. For those of you not familiar with what a spitball is, it is a little wad of paper that a kid will roll around in the mouth and then shoot through a straw.

The teacher whirled around as a couple of kids giggled. She demanded to know who the perpetrator was. She never found out but in retribution she canceled a class trip for the following week that all of us were looking forward to. We were all punished for the actions of one individual.

This is the collectivist mindset. There are no individuals — only “the group.” There is no distinguishing between people. There is no individual responsibility. There is no accountability. And like my third-grade teacher, our elected officials know what’s best for us and can discipline us whenever it so pleases them.

This brings me to HB 2760 that recently passed overwhelmingly in the West Virginia House of Delegates. The vote was 98 to 4. The legislative summary describes the bill as “creating a uniform regulation of firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories.”

The bill would pre-empt local gun control ordinances, creating equal rights across the state under the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

On the state level, it creates no new law. After passage in the House, it moved on to the Senate where it wound up in the Government Organization Committee chaired by Sen. Herb Snyder. On March 23rd there was a rally held in Charles Town, covered in last week’s Spirit, urging Snyder to move the bill from committee to the Senate floor for a vote.

The bill is now dead in the water. As reported in the Associated Press, Snyder alleges that he has received threats regarding the legislation. This prompted Senate President Jeffrey V. Kessler, D-Marshall, to kill the legislation.

According to the Charleston Daily Mail, Kessler said of the threats, “not on my watch, not ever,” calling them way out of line and overzealous. Duke, er, I mean, Sen. Kessler thinks that we the people have been bad, and he’s going to punish us all.

If Snyder’s allegations are true, an investigation should be initiated, and if laws were broken, those individuals responsible should be provided their due process and prosecuted. They should be held accountable. Conversely, so should elected officials.  Ah, there’s the rub.

I don’t get mad easily but I am deeply offended by Kessler’s attitude. I don’t like being treated like a subject. I’m a voter and I deserve respect. Kessler is being disingenuous.  Let’s hold him accountable.

Two years ago, on Feb. 26, 2011, Kessler spoke at a rally held at the state Capitol in support of the unions in Wisconsin, where Gov. Walker had just signed into law new rules regarding collective bargaining. You might recall that in response, union protesters in Wisconsin broke into the Capitol building in Madison and ransacked the place, defecating in the hallways.

At the time, the Huffington Post reported that the police were investigating death threats against Walker. Apparently, Kessler had no problem with that. Kessler is apparently merely exercising his right to apply to you the voter a double standard.

He also didn’t have any problem with the other speakers at the rally. After speaking to the crowd about leadership he gave way to AFL-CIO Council 77 President Barbra Spradling, who called the Wisconsin governor Adolph Hitler. All the while, Senate President Kessler stood by smiling. You can watch it all on YouTube. Email me at and I will send you the link.

One more thing about Kessler — in the past he has sponsored legislation that would commit West Virginia’s electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote. Let’s make statehood completely irrelevant!

No elected official deserves to be abused. Bad behavior needs to be addressed through the proper channels. People who threaten others need to be prosecuted and legislators that do not serve the people need to be voted out of office.

This entire episode does not pass the smell test. For all the Alinskyites out there, the political operatives, Kessler has provided a template. What Kessler seems to be saying is that if someone doesn’t like a bill they can send a threatening letter to the committee chairman urging its passage and presto, it will die in committee; instant political cover for double-talking politicians. Call me cynical, but how do we know that this didn’t just happen?

— Elliot Simon writes from Harpers Ferry


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3 Responses to Making threats is no reason to kill gun bill

  1. Pingback: YORKTOWN TRADING POST » Making threats is no reason to kill gun bill – spiritofjefferson (blog)

  2. A survey of West Virginia voters showed 81% overall support for the idea that the President should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    Voters were asked:
    “How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?”

    By political affiliation, support for a national popular vote on the first question was 87% among Democrats, 75% among Republicans, and 73% among others.

    By gender, support was 87% among women and 73% among men.

    By age, support was 83% among 18-29 year olds, 80% among 30-45 year olds, 83% among 46-65 year olds, and 79% for those older than 65.

    With the Electoral College and federalism, the Founding Fathers meant to empower the states to pursue their own interests within the confines of the Constitution. The National Popular Vote is an exercise of that power, not an attack upon it.

    The Electoral College is now the set of 538 dedicated party activists who vote as rubberstamps for their party’s presidential candidate. That is not what the Founders intended.

    During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

    The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state, ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, in 2012 did not reach out to about 80% of the states, like West Virginia, and their voters. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Candidates had no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they were safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

    80% of the states, like West Virginia, and people were just spectators to the presidential election. That’s more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans.

    Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states, like West Virginia, are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    Since World War II, a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 15 presidential elections

    The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College.

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

    States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.

    Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution– “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . .” The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”

    Federalism concerns the allocation of power between state governments and the national government. The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national government. The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, or national lines (as with the National Popular Vote).

    • I am sorry but if you think that by doing away with the electoral college that you will be making WV more important in the national election you are sorely mistaken. Instead what will happen is that candidates will never even think of WV or much of the so called “fly-over” country. They will spend all their time in California and New York. The national elections will be decided by those population centers. The real reason why liberals want to do away with the electoral college is because by doing so the liberal coasts will always control the presidential elections thus ensuring liberal presidents from here on out. The best way for WV to become more important in the national elections is for WVians to elect capable people into the state government who will understand their constitutional duty and will work to make WV a place of freedom. This will in turn grow the economy of WV and improve it’s population which could increase our electoral votes. The second thing that WV could do is become more pro-active in the primary scheduling and move their primary date to a more effective and strategic time. WV would not have to be first in the primary schedule but an earlier time perhaps on a different date then other states would increase the impact.

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