Gun control issues on the minds of many
Recent headlines on gun control issues have people talking about their rights to bear arms, but it was Samuel Adams who was the “Father of the American Revolution” said, “The constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
Ray’s Pawn Shop in Bridge City, has recently sold a large number of guns, but an even larger amount of ammunition sold. In addition, the pawn shop is a licensed dealer for the sale of Glock pistol, but the guns are on back order. “Sales increased because of the magazine,” said John Trouquille, of Rays’s Pawn Shop.
“Ammo is extremely hard to get,” Trouquille said. “It’s harder than guns.”
At a recent gun show, Trouquille said he saw ammunition which generally sells for $16 per box was being sold as high as $49 per box.
A shopper at the pawn shop, Phillip McCollough, of Vinton, was looking at the gun selection and is not happy with the rumors of the proposed change in the gun laws. But, he plans to continue purchasing guns anyway.
Jon Payne, a local firearms trainer contracted to Suarez International, who teaches Texas Concealed Handgun classes, has a goal of teaching law-biding citizens to protect themselves. Recently, as guns and ammunition were flying off the shelves, 65 people signed up on a waiting list for Payne’s classes.
To obtain a concealed gun permit, a person first must complete a packet and turn it in to the DPS. They must also include two passport photos, a copy of the fingerprints and attend a 10 hour class given by a certified instructor, according to Payne.
The second amendment which is often misquoted actually states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
“The second amendment has nothing to do with legitimate sporting use or hunting,” Payne said.
In the gun control act of 1968, Congress declared that the purpose of this title was to provide support to Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials in their fight against crime and violence, and it is not the purpose of this title to place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms appropriate to the purpose of hunting, trapshooting, target shooting, personal protection, or any other lawful activity, and that this title is not intended to discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, or provide for the imposition by Federal regulations of any procedures or requirements other than those reasonably necessary to implement and effectuate the provisions of this title.
The last significant federal gun law was 1994’s Assault Weapons Ban, passed five years before Columbine, which expired in 2004. The law which is commonly referred to as the “Assault Weapons Ban,” banned the manufacture, possession, and importation of new semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, or magazines for civilian use.
In addition, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act included a five-day waiting period and background check before a licensed gun importer, manufacturer or dealer can sell or deliver a handgun to an unlicensed individual.
Payne’s stance is “not to change anything as far as gun laws are concerned.”
In addition, the National Rifle Association’s stance on gun control, is to enforce the laws already on the books.
But, Payne said instead he wants to “change the attitudes and knowledge of the American public.”
“The 1994 crime bill was in effect during the Columbine incident, but it didn’t stop them,” Payne said of the massacre in 1999, at Columbine High School in Colorado. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered a total of 12 students and one teacher. They injured 21 additional students, with three other people being injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair then committed suicide.
There were other incidents as well, such as in 2012 when a mass shooting occurred inside of a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening. A gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. The sole suspect is James Eagan Holmes, who was arrested outside the cinema minutes later.
Closer to home is the shooting at the Jefferson County Courthouse where four people were injured and one person died in March 2012.
There was also reports of gunfire erupting around noon at Lone Star College North Harris campus, near Houston, on Tuesday afternoon. Early reports indicated at least three people were wounded, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
The shooting may have occurred in the library and the campus was placed on lockdown while investigators worked the case.
All of these are “gun-free” zones, Payne said.
“Every place this has happened, there is no one there to protect them,” Payne said. “Shooters are looking for the vulnerable and for the least resistance,” Payne said.
Payne added, if lawmakers were to outlaw standards capacity magazines, then outlaws would still have the magazines, but law biding citizens would not have them.
There are more than 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers in the United States, according recent reports from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. According to reports, 51,438 are retail gun stores, 7,356 are pawn shops and 61,562 are collectors, with the balance of the licenses belonging mostly to manufacturers and importers of firearms and destructive devices.
Currently, if a person doesn’t have a criminal record and they have not been adjudicated as mentally incompetent, they can buy guns. In 2010 the National Instant Criminal Background Check System ran 16,454,951 background checks for firearms purchases. According to reports, 78,211 which is 48 percent, of the applications were denied.
Since 1998 there have been more than 151 million NICS checks. Each check doesn’t always represent a single gun purchase, but a single transaction. If someone purchased two guns at the same time, there would only be one check.
Violent crime rates have been falling in recent years, but the number of people killed by firearms in the United States remains high. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, between 2006 and 2010, 47,856 people were murdered in the U.S. by firearms which is more than twice as many as were killed by all other means combined.
Payne said it all begins at home by teaching children right from wrong and to take an active role in their children’s life. In addition, safe storage keeps guns out of the hands of people who are not supposed to have them.
“When kids join gangs they are looking for a place to belong,” Payne said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if they belonged at home?”
During Payne’s classes, as part of the program he is required to teach proper storage of guns. Also taught is non-violent dispute resolution and communication languages of life.
“The actual marksmanship is the smallest part,” Payne said.
Payne teaches there are three safe places for a firearm.
“They are; on your person, in an area under physical control or in a safe,” he said.
“The bottom line is if you are a gun owner, you have to be a responsible gun owner, “Payne said. “It’s your responsibility to educate your family.”
Jon Payne, of Bridge City, is a local firearms trainer contracted to Suarez International, who teaches Texas Concealed Handgun classes, practices at the gun range.