UPDATE: Delegate Hoping to Cash In On Gun Control

By: Anna Baxter, Brooks Jarosz, Alex Snyder, The Associated Press Email
By: Anna Baxter, Brooks Jarosz, Alex Snyder, The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 1/16/13 @ 11:45 p.m.
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Terri White has two kids at home in Boone County, and she’s afraid they’re going to suffer the same fate as their brother who had to move out of state to get a job.

“They don't have no jobs here. I mean, unless you get like a fast food job, and that just don't pay the bills nowadays," White said.

But Delegate Joshua Nelson (R – 23rd District) is hoping to change that.

Earlier this month, he reached out to gun manufacturer Armalite to see if they’d be interested in moving operations from Illinois, where there is a threat to tighten gun control laws, to West Virginia

"We definitely would love to work with them to get them set up to get people back to work," Nelson said.

And he’s aimed at New York-based Remington and Kimber, as well.

"New York has just passed some of the strictest gun control legislation in the country," Nelson said.

Now, White is hoping Nelson hits his mark.

"I think that it would bring some excitement," she said. "I mean, especially all the things going on now with, you know, the gun control laws trying to be passed.”

Nelson says that this isn’t his primary plan for job growth, but it’s something his county could rally around.

"I can guarantee you that they would be honored to work for a company that has provided firearms that people in this area love," Nelson said.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Two freshman delegates from West Virginia plan to fight President Barack Obama's gun control proposal, saying it infringes on the 2nd Amendment right.

The announcement was made just hours after President Obama announced a $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals aimed at reducing gun violence.

According to a news release, House of Delegate members Michael "Mike" Folk of Berkeley County and Joshua Nelson of Boone County plan to introduce a bill to nullify any Unconstitutional Obama Executive Order of New federal law infringing on 2nd Amendment Rights.

"Washington just doesn't get it. They're so far out of touch with reality, it's not even funny," Delegate Folk said. "I think both sides in the state of West Virginia, agree with this."

The President's proposal includes a call on Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. It would close loopholes in the gun sale background check system.

Obama also is signing 23 executive actions -- which require no congressional approval -- including several aimed at improving access to data for background checks.

"These are our kids. This is what they’re thinking about. And so what we should be thinking about is our responsibility to care for them, and shield them from harm, and give them the tools they need to grow up and do everything that they’re capable of doing -- not just to pursue their own dreams, but to help build this country. This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change," President Obama said during a news conference Wednesday.

Folk and Nelson, both Republicans, say the proposals are trying to "manipulate the United States Constitution to the detriment of law abiding citizens." The delegates believe Congress' time should be spent on the budget and debt ceiling.

Folk encourages West Virginians to investigate the issue.

"The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution has nothing to do with hunting or sporting use of firearms. Please tell the shop owners who defended their Koreatown businesses during the Los Angeles riots from rooftops that so-called assault rifles and high capacity magazines do not have a legitimate use," newly elected Berkeley County Delegate Michael "Mike" Folk said.

Folk admits during an interview with WSAZ.com he owns one gun, but does not call himself a gun advocate.

Folks tells WSAZ.com any proposal aimed at gun control laws has unintended consequences.

"... Basically it criminalizes law-abiding citizens," Folk said. "The gun laws -- whether it's this country or another country -- it's proven that they don't work."

Folk would not release specifics from the bill proposal because a final draft hasn't been completed. However, he did say the bill would call to change sections of the current West Virginia state code regarding gun rights.

According to the release, Folk and Nelson want to protect the 2nd Amendment Right. Folk believes West Virginia has always been independent and that's what people here want.

"I say guns don't need to be restricted...if everyone has a gun, no one's going to be trying to shoot everyone," James Lyles, of Charleston said. "...The president can't go against the amendment. That's what we set up -- that's what congress set up."

Folk says this is not a partisan issue. He says he has met with other lawmakers in West Virginia about portions of this bill and people on both sides of the aisle have supported it.

However, not all West Virginia voters are onboard with Folk's proposed bill.

"There's too many kids getting killed in this country -- in schools and other places -- and too many people don't know how to handle a gun," Robert Tarpening, of Charleston said. "Something's got to be done. There's too many people getting killed with guns. We've taken that right and done whatever we've wanted to with it. And I think that right ought to be taken away for awhile."

Folk says he didn't run on the 2nd Amendment, but he ran to uphold the Constitution and he plans to do just that with this bill.

Nelson is also helping draft the bill and is a big advocate for protecting the 2nd Amendment. In fact, it was one of his campaign promises.

President Obama held Wednesday's news conference just a month after a mass shooting in Connecticut killed 20 elementary school children. Several children and their parents attended the news conference.

"Let me say to the families of the innocents who were murdered 33 days ago, our heart goes out to you. And you show incredible courage -- incredible courage -- being here," Vice President Joe Biden said during the news conference. "And the President and I are going to do everything in our power to honor the memory of your children and your wives with the work we take up here today."

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