"Let me be clear," Morrisey said. "Addressing mental health care system deficiencies is an important priority. However, in West Virginia, we will not easily accept unfunded mandates that burden our state budget regardless of the perceived desirability of the policy goal."
Morrisey said he already has discussed proposed gun control laws and Obama's executive actions with fellow attorneys general in other states. Several senior aides in Morrisey's office also are keeping a close watch on federal assault weapons' ban proposals, he said.
"My office will continue to analyze these important issues, and discuss them with state attorneys general, so that we can properly preserve the rights of law-abiding West Virginians to own firearms," Morrisey said.
Morrisey also was asked whether he would support West Virginia schools as "gun-free zones," and whether he believes teachers and security personnel should be allowed to carry weapons on campus.
"Some individuals have proposed spending more money to address school security issues," he said. "On a personal level, I will need to be convinced about the effectiveness of any proposal that spends precious taxpayer resources before I commit to supporting it."
Morrisey said he would keep an "open mind" about any measures designed to stop mass shootings like the tragedy that claimed the lives of 20 students and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"In my opinion, root causes of violence are broad-based," he said. "Cultural factors, socio-economic conditions and mental health treatment systems must all be addressed in order to make meaningful progress to reduce violence."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.