Gun violence is a complex problem. Waiting periods and restricting purchases of handguns to one per month won't solve the whole thing. They will, however, help. Although nobody has evidence to say for sure, waiting has probably kept some people -- including gun purchasers -- alive. It has probably kept some drugs off the streets. In other words, it has been a step toward solving the problem. The House of Delegates wants Charleston to take a step backward.
Having trashed local control and ignored its duty to solve problems, the House acted in a principled way -- if its principle is to always cringe before any powerful lobbying group.
Delegates may, of course, want to suggest that the principle involved is protection of Second Amendment rights. They can't be serious.
Waiting periods and restrictions on sales to one handgun per month have nothing to do with the Second Amendment. That protects the right to keep and bear arms. Under the ordinance, anyone could keep a basement, a whole house, a warehouse full of handguns. They just couldn't buy more than one new handgun a month. At least so far as this ordinance is concerned, they could bear as many handguns as they could carry. They just couldn't add more than one a month to the collection. When they wanted to add to the arsenal, they would have to wait 72 hours to pick up a new handgun.
These restrictions do not interfere with anything that even the most extreme gun advocates want to do. They could still collect all the guns they want, hunt all they want -- protect themselves from the government, snakes, or criminals -- burst into theaters all guns blazing -- shoot themselves or their families -- everything.
It is cowardly to wave the Second Amendment as a principle when the only thing the Legislature is doing is seeking to avoid the wrath of gun manufacturers and their fellow travelers. They are not protecting the Second Amendment. They are protecting their chances of being re-elected.
Here we have the trifecta: Abandon local control. Do nothing to address the problem of gun violence while forcing those who are addressing it to step backward. Sniff the political winds and fall at the feet of the gun lobby at every opportunity.
That's not a Legislature; it's an embarrassment.
McFerrin, of Morgantown, is a Gazette contributing columnist.