CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia politicians have long known you can't go wrong bending over for the gun lobby, but this session could set a record.
At last count, 20 bills are pending this session to weaken or repeal firearms regulations -- not to mention the bill to create a "Second Amendment" license plate, or House Speaker Rick Thompson's invitation to Beretta USA to relocate to West Virginia, touting our weak gun laws.
(A bill under consideration in the company's home state of Maryland to outlaw assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would make some of Beretta's products illegal in that state.)
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones was on point last week when he said one would think the gun lobby and gun rights' advocates would be keeping a low profile after the Newtown massacre -- but instead are redoubling efforts to repeal gun laws in gun-friendly regions such as our state.
Jones is understandably angry that legislators who don't live in the city -- and lobbyists who don't live in West Virginia -- are trying to repeal a city ordinance that seems to be working perfectly fine.
As Jones stated, Charleston's ordinance is designed not to keep law-abiding city residents from buying guns, but to cut down on out-of-state drug dealers coming in from Detroit, Cleveland, Washington and New York to sell drugs here, then use the profits to buy handguns to sell on the black market back in their home cities.
While the ordinance has not eliminated out-of-state drug traffic or gun violence in Charleston, it certainly pales in comparison to that of our sister city of Huntington, which has no restrictions on gun purchases.
By all indications, Delegate Mark Hunt, D-Kanawha, put the bill (HB2558) on the Political Subdivisions Committee agenda to placate Republicans on the committee, but believes the bill will not come up for consideration in House Judiciary Committee this session.
Speaking of Thompson, there's always rumors about what higher offices legislative leaders will seek, but the latest rumor about the speaker seems to have legs.
I'm advised that Thompson is seriously considering running for Wayne County sheriff in 2016.
That would mean seeking one more term in the House in 2014, then looking at a run for countywide office two years later, when he'll be 64.
At that point, Thompson presumably will have served 10 years as House speaker. By comparison, dealing with hardened criminals as a law enforcement officer should be a breeze ...