In the wake of a New Year’s Day shooting that left seven people injured, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said Thursday he is asking City Council members to amend zoning ordinances to prevent new bars from opening within the city. The shooting occurred at an establishment called Kulture at 1113 4th Ave., which opened last summer. Williams said he would also suggest changes to the city’s business license process to add background check procedures. The owners of Kulture misrepresented the type of business they would operate and haven’t paid any taxes, he said.

Here is a sampling of readers’ online comments to the incident and the mayor’s proposals:

George Bailey: “‘Wednesday morning’s shooting was the first time city officials learned the bar did not have proper permits in place.’ After opening in July? You would think there would be a little oversight in these matters. Not only does the zoning board need replaced, the mayor seems oblivious as to the real issues in Huntington. Keep coddling this drug crowd and it will never get cleaned up.”

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Josh Brown: “So the city received more than 20 calls regarding the bar and no one within City Hall thought to check on the business and make sure all the permits and the like were in place? It sounds like someone in City Hall wasn’t doing their job.”

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Donna Chastain Watterson: “Everybody placing blame and pointing fingers ... instead look at the people who committed the crime. It’s not the licensing board’s fault, the guns’ fault, they want to blame Detroit about coming to Huntington, people are coming from everywhere ... we have a problem because the ‘people’ of Huntington are wanting the drugs. ... I’ll say it again; it’s a people problem.”

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Guidon Grundlehner: “... Yup. Rehabilitate people and lower the demand for drugs, and dealers won’t set foot in the city again. It’s not worth it to them to risk arrest and spend money trying to sell to a public that doesn’t demand it.”

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Jeremy Mccomas: “There’s a bigger picture than bars. This city has had bars forever. Can’t blame the bars for the crimes that happen. Huntington has problems that need to be dealt with. Our city is becoming infested with crimes and drug activity. Start there; you will see crime decrease. Put them in jail, don’t slap them on hand and let them out next day to start at a new location.”

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Jonathan Jones: “He needs to look in his own department! He laid off police that didn’t need it and now it’s costing us and he wants to put the blame elsewhere, so he will look good and try to get people to forget the real reason.”

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Jan Hite King: “ ... she advertised free alcohol on her posters and on her videos she took down. If you serve it, even free, you must have a liquor license. ... guess you didn’t see the video of them advertising selling tickets in Charleston? Offering free champagne? That’s not a private party.”

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Ted Kinder: “There was a shooting at a church in Texas this week. Will we ban churches next? There are a lot of them in Huntington. Another knee-jerk reaction from the mayor.”

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David Jenkins: “Nice! Blame all bars; that’s your answer. How about investigating how the zoning board allowed felon to open up a bar in the first place.”

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John Flowers: “You need to close this one, but don’t penalize legitimate businesses. Just do your homework before you license the next business.”

Michael Scites: “Simply hold people accountable who should be. Who let that place open? That’s who should be punished.”

Jacob G. Hill: “Mayor Williams, this is not the answer. Keeping businesses from opening in your city and costing it money is absolutely absurd. So what are you going to do when a shooting happens in WalMart, CVS or a convenience store within Huntington? Are you going to propose to not allow anymore open up? How about we use some common sense here and the city do better background checks on people? What about your Zoning Appeals board; are you going to look into them? What about your folks who allowed the permits to happen, are you going to look into them? What happened to common sense in this country? What about asking the council to require new establishments to have metal detectors and security before you try to stop businesses from coming to your city? When are we going to start holding people accountable for their own actions?

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