The Charleston Gazette-Mail published this editorial on July 29 regarding an increase in the number of guns found in carry-on luggage at two airports in West Virginia this year:
Again, we are imploring gun owners to be responsible with their weapons by knowing where they are at all times and keeping them secure.
Another traveler was stopped by Transportation Safety Administration officers at Yeager Airport in Charleston over the weekend when a loaded handgun was found in her carry-on bag. That marks the fifth time this year this has happened at Yeager, according to TSA officials. Earlier this month, at Huntington Tri-State Airport, two people were cited for trying to bring firearms onto planes within a span of four days.
Between the two airports, there have been 11 incidents of passengers trying to board planes with firearms, and it's only late July. In all of 2018, there were only two such incidents in Huntington.
Individually, both airports have already outpaced JFK International, where four such incidents had occurred as of mid-July, according to the TSA. One of those incidents involved a man from West Virginia who had a loaded firearm in his carry-on.
The troubling thing uniting all of these incidents is that, nearly every time, the gun owner knows it's illegal to bring a firearm on a plane and has simply forgotten the gun was in their bag.
Look, modern life is frantic. People are always going from one place to the next, usually in a hurry. But it's not like these are discarded packs of Tic-Tacs in the bottom of a duffel bag or purse. They're handguns, often loaded and, sometimes, with a round in the chamber.
If someone can't remember they left a loaded, lethal instrument in their carry-on bag, where else are they or others being absent-minded about it? That's the real issue, here. Too many people die or are wounded because a gun owner hasn't properly stored or secured a firearm. If Americans want to continue to have the right to own guns, they need to treat them with the grave responsibility such ownership demands. It's vital, not only to their own safety, but the safety of everyone around them.
Here's another refresher. If an airline passenger wants to bring their firearm to their destination, it must be checked as luggage, unloaded and stored in a hard case. Ammunition must be packed separately.
Those who attempt to bring a firearm on a plane can be arrested, and are almost always issued a citation that can carry a fine of more than $13,000. A typical fine for a first offense is about $4,000.
Keep Ohio kids covered
The Toledo (Ohio) Blade published this editorial on July 27:
After years of steady improvement, the number of Ohio's children who are covered by health insurance is suddenly slipping.
From February 2018 to May of this year, the number of Ohio children enrolled in the state's Medicaid program fell by 3 percent. That's almost 37,000 fewer children with coverage.
And it's not just Medicaid coverage. The Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual Kids Count report shows that in 2016 and 2017, roughly 30,000 children lost insurance of any kind.
The news is distressing, particularly when considering how hard states like Ohio worked to bolster programs such as Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program. It means that thousands of children in this state without insurance do not have access to adequate health care.
It may be that children are losing coverage when their parents lose their health insurance. It may be that renewing Medicaid coverage was too confusing or complicated for some families to manage, particularly as the number of federally funded health-care navigators has fallen in recent years.
Advocacy groups that work with children's health issues are at a loss to explain the sudden drop in coverage rates, and they want government officials to help solve the mystery.
This problem is squarely in the wheelhouse of Gov. Mike DeWine, who is known for being particularly focused on problems affecting children and who favors solving problems by tapping the state's best experts to study and recommend solutions.
Just such a panel is necessary here, and urgently. Ohio cannot afford to wait until a generation of its most vulnerable residents goes without health-insurance coverage and care.