Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 17, 2013

Reaction on gun violence package mixed among locals

CNHI News Service

SUMMIT — After President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders on gun control, customers at Borders Sporting Goods in Summit Wednesday evening had varying opinions on the matter, but all agreed that second amendment rights should be protected.

Along with orders to strengthen existing gun laws and expand safety programs in schools, Obama also proposed background checks on all gun sales and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Mike Hammond, 58, of Prestonsburg, an avid gun owner, said he agrees with upping safety programs in schools, but does not think new gun laws is the solution to violence such as the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

“I think we have the best gun laws in the world. They just won’t enforce the laws. ... When that man murdered his mother and murdered those babies in that school, murder was illegal. But murder has always been illegal. So making new laws to ban guns wouldn’t make much sense,” Hammond said, adding that guns are inanimate objects and are not responsible for violence — people are.

April Dixon, 37, of Ashland, a Borders employee, said many customers strongly oppose the idea of a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and talk of a ban has led to high demand for such items.

“Anything to do with assault weapons, we can’t get it in since the shooting. We don’t have loads like we used to. We’re still trying to order, but we only get a little bit at a time. People are stockpiling. They’re scared that after a while it won’t be here. ... They don’t feel like they can protect themselves anymore,” she said.

Concerning her personal opinion on the subject, she said, “It’s a shame what happened to those kids, but it’s not just guns that kill people. It’s like they (gun owners) are getting punished for things they didn’t do. ... I grew up with guns, and I’m for gun rights. I do think they need to do background checks and look at mental health. Guns don’t have minds. People do.”

William Copley, 43, of South Point, Ohio, also a Borders employee, said he agrees that background checks for gun sales are necessary, but is opposed to the ban of high-capacity magazines, which he uses when target shooting to avoid reloading often.

“I think a lot of people around here will be upset if they are banned, and I think most people are scared of losing their second amendment rights. But I think as long as it’s not compromised to the point that it’s not worth having, people will be alright,” Copley said.

Todd Borders, owner of the store, said the new laws will not change the way he goes about selling guns, but might change what he is allowed to sell there.

“We call in to the FBI for background checks anyway. You have to have a security clearance to buy here. ... We should have the right to bear arms, but I have no problem with background checks. The government gives clearance, and I do the paper work,” Borders said. “Time will tell if it will have an effect on my business. It may affect what I’m able to carry.”

SHANNON MILLER can be reached at smiller@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2657.