MARTINSBURG, WV - Should guns be allowed on school property? That question has become a topic of contention in Martinsburg, where a local delegate wants to overturn a 5-year-old city ordinance banning guns from government property.
"It's not the guns that kill people it's people that kill people," says Delegate Craig Blair of the 52nd District of West Virginia. He wants to change a Martinsburg ordinance that bans firearms from government property.
Outside a government-owned building at the corner of Queen Street and Burke Street on Monday afternoon, Delegate Blair expressed his frustrations about the law.
"If somebody lives here or not I have no idea, but if somebody would and they wanted to exercise their 2nd Amendment right according to the statute that the city has passed it would deny them of that."
Delegate Blair also expressed this frustration at a pro-firearm forum at the Martinsburg Diner Sissy's on Saturday.
"What he was trying to emphasize," explains candidate for delegate Eric Householder, who was at the Diner on Saturday, "Is that as a legal law-abiding citizen we could be treated as a criminal if we were to walk into a property like this at the Market Street House and inadvertently have our sidearm on us."
One person who doesn't agree is State Senator John Unger. By phone, Senator Unger described school property as 'sacred.' He adds that it would infringe on the rights of others to feel safe if guns were allowed on school grounds.
Senator Unger describes himself as a '2nd amendment advocate,' but like public schools, adds airports and court houses to the list of places he believes should be gun free, except for law enforcement.
Delegate Blair says some parents who pick up their children
from school and legally carry concealed weapons have probably broken that
rule anyway - likely by accident.
"I could be [on school grounds] and be breaking the law," explained Delegate Blair. "I could be breaking the law if I had it in a gun safe. I could be breaking the law if I had it unloaded. I could be breaking the law if I had it in a trigger lock on my weapon. All those things are wrong."
Blair adds that he doesn't believe weapons should be allowed within schools, just on school property.
Delegate Craig Blair is vying for John Unger's state senate seat in this November election.