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April 27, 2015

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SHOT Show attendees respond to Obama gun control proposal

While background checks are supported, ban on assault rifles deemed ‘silly’


Steve Marcus

Scott Biegler, right, owner of Scotty’s Guns in Timber Lake, S.D., looks over a Colt Marksman rifle during the annual SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show in the Sands Expo Center Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.

As President Barack Obama laid out his plan Wednesday for increased gun control in a White House news conference, approximately 60,000 people were roaming the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas for the second day of the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade, SHOT, show.

The show, which is run by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and is in its 35th year, is one of the largest firearm trade shows in the country with 1,600 exhibitors, and is open to professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries, but not the public.

As word spread of Obama’s executive actions and requests for congressional action to help stem gun violence, the halls of the convention center buzzed with groups of attendees huddling to discuss the details.

Obama took immediate action to study gun violence and the effects of violence in the media and video games, provide federal funding for additional school resource officers and strengthen background checks of firearm purchasers. He asked Congress to pass a universal background check for all gun purchases, restore the previous ban on "military-style" assault rifles and limit magazines to a maximum of 10 rounds.

If one consensus emerged from those at the SHOT Show, it was for an increased focus on people and a general belief that the types of guns and ammunition available to the public should not be limited. Background checks, help for the mentally ill, increased school security and studying gun violence were all acceptable to the majority of people who offered comments on the president's proposals. Limiting specific types of guns and the capacity of clips, they said, would do little to curb violence.

Here is a sample of some of the comments collected at the 2013 SHOT Show from attendees from around country.

    • Raydel Ramirez, 34, Florida

      On the assault rifle ban: Banning one type of gun is not going to help. The Columbine shootings were with handguns and shotguns. I think people who have guns also need to be more responsible. We are hearing that the mother of the Newtown, Conn.. shooter was the owner of the guns. Why didn't she have a safe? Why did she leave them where her son could get them?

      On background checks: I think it's reasonable to be stricter in how we evaluate who can have a gun. We definitely need mental health checks. It can be hard to say who has the capacity to go out and do something awful like these attacks, but we have to be more diligent.

      On school security: I think a good solution is more security. You go to a sporting event and there is armed security. There is armed security here at the SHOT Show, and there is armed security at federal buildings. These people who commit these attacks aren't going to these types of places with security. It's crazy that you have security in all these places, but then you hage 'Gun Free Zones' at schools.

    • Derek Huffman, 44, Arizona

      On the Obama gun control proposal: Unconstitional laws are not laws. I find it curious that they didn't take any action after the Aurora (Colo., theater) shooting, but then once the election is over they exploit the Newtown tragedy because they don't have anything to lose anymore.

      On assault rifle ban: Evil deeds live in the hearts of evil men, not in the workings of gadgets.

      On background checks: Americans should have the right to dispose of their private property as they see fit.

      On school security: In Arizona we've had additional school resource officers since Columbine, and it's worked beautifully.

    • Bob Bailey, 61, Idaho

      On background checks: I'm not sure how I feel about a background check for every gun purchase. I don't think the government should limit what we do with our personal property. I do think it's OK to have a background check for every first-time buyer.

      On limiting the capacity of magazines: I've never heard of anyone who was saved by a 10-round clip. You can always carry a second clip. It just makes it harder for law enforcement to get the high-capacity magazines when they need them.

      On the cause of gun violence: It's a societal problem. I think we need to do more to help people with mental health issues, and there have to be more places to treat people with mental health problems.

    • Ty Taylor, 49, New Hampshire

      On Obama's proposal: I just don't trust him at all, and I think he's looking for a way to take away our Second Amendment rights.

      On background checks: They do need to do what they can to keep the mentally ill from purchasing guns. As a gun manufacturer and salesman I believe in conducting the background checks and also getting a feel for who you are selling to. In the end, I have the discretion over who I sell to.

      On assault rifle ban: I don't understand the whole hang up on assault rifles. Most of what we are really referring to now are semi-automatic weapons that are no different from hunting rifles. You pull the trigger once, one bullet comes out. Most of differences from other guns are cosmetic.

      On preventing future shootings: I think we need more security in schools. We need to do a better job of identifying and helping the mentally ill, and I think gun owners need to be responsible in securing their guns.

    • David Dahl, 63, Illinois

      On Obama's proposal: I think they are missing the whole point, which is: What do we do with people we catch who have committed a violent crime. We are way too lenient, and people who commit crimes with guns should go to jail for longer periods of time, no probation, no one- or two-year sentences. It’s a revolving door.

      On limiting the capacity of magazines: It’s a non-issue. The amount of bullets someone can have in a clip is not what is going to save lives.

      On school security: I think there should be more concealed carry. It doesn't have to be teachers necessarily. It should people who want to take the responsibility, it shouldn't be forced on someone. It should be people with the proper training, but it can be anyone, a teacher, principal, janitor.

      On background checks: I do agree with registering firearms and background checks for first-time buyers. But if I have a registered gun and I want to pass it down to my son, I don't want the government interfering. It's just little by little taking away our rights. They don’t take the whole pie at the one time, they do it piece by piece.

    • Omar Munoz, 36, Florida

      On background checks: I do believe background checks should be better and more in-depth. We need to make sure people with mental health problems aren't getting guns.

      On an assault rifle ban: I think some politicians have wanted to ban assault rifles for a long time, and now they have an excuse to go ahead and do it. The issue isn't the types of firearms that are available, it’s who has access to them. Banning assault rifles will not fix anything. If a drunk driver hits a bus and kills 20 children, you don't ban his car. We do have licenses for drivers and tests and all that, and I think that's fine. We do need more checks on the people buying guns. Picking one gun and banning it though is silly.

      On limiting magazine capacity: When you talk to competitive shooters they say you can load one of those clips in seconds. You can always carry more clips. When you think about these attacks, it's not like people are getting away. They are diving for the floor. I just don't think limiting rounds in a clip will really save lives.

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    1. It was actually refreshing to see a media outlet interview intelligent people with logical points of view. Thank you LVRJ. Now if we could just help make these opinions and facts more visible to the public.

      Of course there is a huge difference here too. The LVRJ is based out of a city with strong rural ties. Most MSM outlets are in large cities with constant petty crimes, and are staffed with fearful employees who went straight from high school, to college, to their urban jobs with parents, teachers, and advisers mollycoddling them their entire lives. You can expect someone to understand gun responsibility when they don't even know what personal responsibility and street smarts are.

    2. Better in-depth back round checks should be mandatory for all gun purchases from this point on.

    3. Mr. Rooney,

      You do know that this is not the LVRJ?

    4. @ vegaslee


      My bad! I'm a news junkie and frequent both sites, and was typing in the URL in my post by accident.

      My apologies and proper thanks to the Las Vegas Sun.

      Thank you, vegaslee!

    5. My personal opinions:

      High capacity magazines: we need to consider the costs/benefits. If the short amount of time that it takes a shooter to release/reload is possibly enough for a potential victim to take action, then I think it's worth it. I have a 15 round magazine for my handgun, and it's almost solely because it's more convenient at the range. My understanding is that the vast majority of self-defense situations require 1-2 rounds (I've heard it quoted as high as 4). 10 rounds seems like it should be more than enough to cover almost all situations. The benefits to the gun owner are very small, and even if it's a psychological benefit to the public, it's worth it. Most of these mass shootings, and daily shootings in cities across the country, are not done by "competitive shooters". They're carried out by knuckleheads that have little to no formal training. It will take them longer than a "split second" to change out a magazine. I'd support a government buy-back program. The gun manufacturers/retailers should be happy about this...owners would have to buy new guns and it wouldn't cost them anything.

      Assault rifle ban (could be combined with high capacity restrictions): I agree with one of the commenters that we should at least limit who can purchase these guns. I'd support an option (maybe a 1 year time limit) for current owners to either get licensed (including recurring psych evaluations) to own these types of guns, or have a government buy-back program.

      Background checks: I find it completely disgusting that anyone would be opposed to this. You want to give your gun to your kid? How f'ing hard is it to document that process? how lazy do you have to be? We need to do a MUCH better job of tracking where guns are (supposed to be)? Gun owners have the right to own guns, but I think we have an obligation/responsibility to make sure that guns are kept out of the hands of the wrong people. If you disagree, and you want to hide behind the "keep the government out of my business" nonsense, then you're selfish and don't have the mentality to be a responsible gun owner. Document the sale and/or theft of a firearm, and you have 30 days to do so or it's a federal crime.

      I absolutely, 100% agree with other gun owners that we need to address mental illness in this country, and that includes limiting their access to firearms.

      I see both sides of the "more armed security in schools" issue. If done properly, then I agree. But I wouldn't want the typical armed security that we see at office buildings. These would have to be heavily trained, heavily background checked (including psych evaluations) people, and that would cost A LOT of money. You can't do something like that on the cheap. If that's what we want, then be prepared for the bill.

    6. I wish people would understand that even if you limit magazines to 10 rounds, the next guy will just practice and adapt. I can reload my Glock 23 with 10 round magazies rather quickly and the nex nut and there will be a next one can practice until proficient enought to reload quicky. Carry 10 magazines, which isn't that hard and you've got 100 rounds at your disposal. Considering law nforcemnt response could be at least five minutes minimum and they can fire a lot of ammo in that time period. Does this mean nothing should be done, no. its time to take a hard look at things and make some changes. Consider this though, the Va Tech and Aurora shooters had high levels of intelligence, Holmes in Aurora set numerou complicated traps in his apartment. Some if Lanzas classmates described him as a genius. These guys are smart and can adapt and we need to understand that. Of couse the gun industry won't support any bans it is all about mone, just like pharmacutecils and medical care. Common sense and raional discussion between both sides are needed, not dumb ads or name calling. The NRA has made itslef look foolish lately and needs to dial back and accept that change is coming, you can either be part of the soulution or all of the problem.

      Retired US Army vet, CCW holder and responisible gun owner

    7. WE must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the law breaker. It's time to restore the precept that each individual is accountable for his actions....