But they also found that gun crimes were not uniformly spread across West Virginia. Charleston and Bluefield had the highest rates.
"This suggests that any policies, programs or practices designed to target such criminal incidents are likely to be best launched in and around these counties, rather than applied statewide," the authors concluded.
In other words, what's good for Harrison County, for example, may not be good for Kanawha.
Meanwhile, Kanawha Commission President Kent Carper worries that HB2760 could erase the county's rules against pistol-carrying in Coonskin Park "where children are playing."
Delegate Rupert Phillips, D-Logan, said he became chief sponsor of the bill after consulting the National Rifle Association. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said the bill "is written by the NRA."
Delegate Mark Hunt, D-Kanawha -- who once was caught with a loaded pistol at Yeager Airport -- knows better and should have voted against the bill. But he suggested that lawmakers from around the state were irritated at Mayor Jones for calling them "idiots," so they voted in a backlash against Charleston.
But this issue is more important than lingering over a moment's fit of pique. It is literally about life and death. The West Virginia Legislature's duty is to residents, business owners and visitors, who thrive in law-abiding and safe communities, where drug and gun dealers don't have run of the streets.