Locals speak out on President's gun control proposals

Locals speak out on President's gun control proposals

President Barack Obama is taking the offensive against gun violence.

"The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage. (applause) We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom," Obama said during an address to the nation Tuesday.

He's firing shots at gun shows, and his target is the loophole that allow buyers to purchase a firearm without undergoing a background check.

The president called his proposals Tuesday "common-sense safety measures." But some people say there's still more that needs to be done.

"Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common sense reforms, like background checks, might not have stopped the last massacre or the one before that or the one before that.  So, why bother trying?  I reject that thinking," Obama said.

It's a form of thinking that has some questioning just how far laws can really go towards stopping gun violence.

"California had every law the liberal anti-gunners wanted," Owner of 707 Gun Shop Robert Battista said. "The universal background check, the ammunition registration, the assault weapon ban, the magazine restriction...and they had a mass shooting."

Battista believes President Obama's proposals for gun control will do little to stop the killing.

"I don't think it's going to make any difference," Battista said. "Criminals don't come into gun shops and try to buy weapons. That doesn't happen. They get them either illegally or they steal them, so laws apply to law abiding citizens. Passing more laws only affects honest citizens, it doesn't affect criminals."

Gun lobbyists and some republicans voiced similar concerns Tuesday saying Obama's remarks will make buying guns nearly impossible for responsible gun owners.

"I don't think anyone does have a problem with the background checks," Battista said. "They're trying to reach further and trying to get it into private sales, and I think that just makes it very difficult to do business."

But it's a business that hasn't seen any slow down in sales, Battista says his store has had a major increase since the San Bernadino rampage. He says it's not the big rifles people are buying this time around but handguns that are flying off the shelves.

"This is not a plot to take away everybody's guns. You pass a background check, you purchase a firearm," Obama said.

Some believe background checks will do little to stop illegal sales of firearms.

"The black market guns are the guns that are killing our children," Kissie Melvin said

Two Myrtle Beach mothers, who now give their time to the "Mothers Against Violence" organization, say they know the pain of gun violence all too well.

Their sons were shot and killed.

"Every time you hear about another child that gets killed, it brings it back all over again," Elizabeth Bowens said. "Every time you hear about a child that gets killed it stirs it back up again, it stirs it back up."

They hope President Obama's remarks will keep the conversation going.

"We need to come together on this issue," Bowens said. "This is not a presidential thing, this is a universal thing. We all need to come together on this issue because other mothers, other fathers in the United States are crying like we are crying. They know the pain of losing a child."

President Obama expressed that same emotion Tuesday as he spoke about the children killed in the Sandy Hook Shooting.

His plans would expand and bolster the background check system while also providing more funding for mental health treatment, FBI staff, and ATF agents.

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