Gun owners concerned about new proposals
Gun owners are reacting to Wednesday's announcement on gun control proposals from the White House.
The president's plan calls for universal background checks for all gun buyers, including those at gun shows and online. It also cracks down on gun trafficking by imposing harsher penalties on gun sellers who fail to perform background checks. The proposal would also target people who sell multiple guns to potential felons.
The proposal includes a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and a renewed assault weapons ban. (A federal assault weapons ban was in place from 1994 to 2004.)
Gun store owner Scott Daugherty watched the president's remarks from his business, Fort Liberty Firearms in Avon. He says he has several questions about the proposals.
"First of all, when is this taking effect? He's signing these right now; does that mean this minute? I wonder if when he says a renewal of the assault weapons ban, does that mean as it was written in 1994 or is there a new one that no one has seen yet? There's still a lot of questions that need to be answered," Daugherty said.
Vice President Joe Biden headed up the president's task force on gun legislation. The National Rifle Association complained that Biden and other lawmakers didn't listen to their concerns and only seemed interested in meeting for superficial reasons. Biden said he consulted with hundreds of groups with an interest in guns, including the NRA.
"The decision was made before he had the first meeting," said Daugherty. "He might have got some input from different groups but overall their decision was already made when they had their meetings."
On the issue of background checks, Daugherty says he already conducts those checks on all of his customers already.
"If they require background checks, people that currently do face to face sales, it would drive that business here for transfers but they still wouldn't be doing the retail purchases at the store. There's a small fee involved, but that's not where we generally make our money."
Daugherty says he's seen a "huge increase" in business which has caused a drop in supply. He says distributors and manufacturers can't keep up with the demand.
"We're low on inventory. There's been a pretty big rush," he said.
As for how an assault weapons ban would affect business, Daugherty says it all depends on what is banned and how extensive it is - "and how quickly the manufacturers can come up with new things to sell or retrofit the guns that already had high capacity mags with new magazines and get those sent back out. So initially inventory will probably drop; manufacturers will slow down, get their things in order, then they can try to catch back up and we'll see what's legal to sell and what's not."
Fort Liberty Firearms carries semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines that are being targeted by the new proposals. Daugherty says those products are selling fast because of concerns about the ban.
"We'll see what happens with those," he said.
"Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority. The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America's most valuable asset - our children. Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."
Statement from Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN):
"The Newtown shooting was a horrific tragedy that had an impact on all Americans but especially every parent, teacher and student, and it is right for our country to reflect on how we can prevent such events in the future. As we learn more about the president's proposals, we must protect Second Amendment rights and ensure the federal government does not punish responsible gun owners. I will not support legislation or executive actions that would affect gun ownership rights for law-abiding citizens, including any assault weapons ban. Laws alone cannot eliminate all acts of violence. As Americans we need to examine a culture that increasingly glamorizes violence and determine how we can better identify and address mental illness in our society."
Statement from Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN):
"President Obama's gun control proposals are a radical overreach by a power-hungry executive branch that is committed to restricting the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, without any concern for either the constitution or how this plan would actually work in the real world. More laws and regulations will not and cannot stop evil - only strong families and communities can. Instead of focusing on the real reasons for criminal and violent activity, the White House wants to restrict the rights of conscientious, patriotic and responsible gun owners who, quite often, deter violent criminals. I will pursue each and every constitutionally-available means to stop new gun control measures from taking effect and will help lead the conversation in the halls of Congress, where such debates ought to be held, on what should be done to protect our communities and our Constitution."
Statement from Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN):
"President Obama put forth today a bold set of proposals to help address gun violence in this nation – violence that steals lives every single day. He is not seeking a path that tramples upon our Second Amendment rights, nor is he announcing efforts to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens. He believes, as I do, that Americans should be able to own and collect guns and use them for self-defense, hunting or sport shooting.
As Congress comes together, I look forward to discussing these proposals in depth and pursuing plans that address violence while also honoring the rights of law-abiding gun owners. For now, I can say with certainty that Congress must act on legislation that closes loopholes and requires background checks on all gun sales. We must also do our part to ensure serious penalties for gun traffickers who help arm criminals."