Manchin’s common-sense stance on firearms background checks

One of West Virginia’s major daily newspapers, with a long history of supporting a conservative viewpoint, recently conducted a nonpartisan poll to find out how state residents feel about expanding background checks on firearms sales at ever-popular gun shows.

The Charleston Daily Mail poll showed that 75 percent of West Virginians support such a change while 17 percent don’t.

West Virginia is likely as conservative as you get when it comes to gun control issues so for this poll to show such a strong majority in favor of a piece of federal legislation, which our own U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is still pushing, speaks volumes.

Manchin is already being targeted by ads funded by the National Rifle Association for his continued efforts, and he has in turn launched his own campaign encouraging state residents to contact the NRA and let them know how they feel.

That aside, it’s time the government toughens up on gun show sales.

For those who run legitimate firearms shops, they are required to do so. It should be the same for everyone at these private events as well.

This isn’t an issue about Second Amendment rights and the right to bear arms. Manchin’s bipartisan effort for expansion of background checks isn’t singling out so-called assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, either. Those are other components of other bills that a majority of West Virginians don’t support.

It is an issue about common sense and safety that has long been overlooked and has gotten out of control. We must do more to try to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who aren’t mentally stable.

If an overwhelming majority of West Virginians support the expanded checks, that should clearly send a message to the doubters in Washington that it’s time to get it done.


– From the June 25 Register-Herald of Beckley



U.S. needs to make organ donation more available

About one-third of Americans are registered to be organ donors after death, federal health agencies say — but there’s always a shortage of available organs. There’s an urgent need for more conscientious folks to join the potential donor rolls.

The Department of Health and Human Services says more than 100,000 sick Americans are on waiting lists, each desperately hoping that an organ will become available for them.

We hope more compassionate people will register. But if they don’t, here’s a wise plan: Pass opt-out laws.

Around 90 percent of Americans say they support organ donation — but most never get around to volunteering. Currently, most states have opt-in laws requiring each would-be donor to sign up. However, opt-out laws make everyone a potential organ source, except a few who specifically ask to be exempted.

Here’s a European comparison: Germany had an opt-in system, and only 12 percent of Germans registered. But Austria has opt-out — and the exemption rate is so tiny that 99.98 percent of Austrians are potential donors. Examples like this caused 24 European nations to adopt opt-out plans.

America should follow Europe’s pattern, which would triple the number of available donors. West Virginia legislators should consider an opt-out plan for the Mountain State.

Saving lives of tragic victims is a noble pro-life goal.


– From the June 24 The Charleston Gazette


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