Among other things, the President is proposing that Congress require background checks on anyone in the U.S. who buys a firearm, that it reinstate the Clinton–era ban on assault weapons and that it restrict ammunition magazines to 10 rounds at most.
The proposal comes a little more than a month after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
At Wilderness Sports in Ishpeming, a manager says large numbers of customers began coming in, interested in firearms, shortly after the Sandy Hook shootings.
Michael Leach says the spike in customers began about a week after the shootings, but he thinks it had more to do with these proposed changes than with the shootings themselves.
He says national gun sales have risen to the point that suppliers are running short, and they’re especially short on AR15 semi-automatic rifles, which would be banned under the President’s proposal.
The National Rifle Association and other groups are promising a political fight in Congress over the proposed changes.
The NRA says it’s added 250,000 new members nationwide since the Newtown shootings.
No adult customers at the store were willing to appear on camera with us; however, most who spoke with us off-camera said they were opposed to the proposed changes.
Congressman Dan Benishek, Senator Carl Levin and Senator Debbie Stabenow have all issued statements about the gun control measures.
Here is Congressman Benishek’s statement:
“Law-abiding gun owners in Northern Michigan should not have their Second Amendment rights restricted because of the actions of criminals that are determined to hurt innocent people. We cannot allow our Constitutional rights to be eroded to achieve a false sense of security.
While I believe we need to have a national conversation about violence, our society’s values, and the state of mental health care in this country, I don’t think the President’s plan to take guns out of the hands of responsible people is the answer. Guns are not the problem, evil people are. The only thing these proposed restrictions would do is prevent law-abiding individuals from protecting their homes, children, and businesses.
The Administration has also stated it intends to sidestep the legislative branch to implement its new gun control measures without the approval of Congress. That is unacceptable. The American people deserve to have this debate done the right way—in the open and with the consent of their elected representatives.”
Senator Levin’s statement reads:
“I strongly support the efforts President Obama outlined today to curb the gun violence that plagues our nation. I have long supported legislation to restore the ban on assault weapons. I also have supported closing the gun show loophole to strengthen the background checks that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, domestic abusers, and other dangerous individuals. I support our police agencies who have implored us to make these changes.
“The steps the president outlined today are important in protecting Americans while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The president is right. It’s time for us to act, and Congress should do so.”
Senator Stabenow’s statement is as follows:
“I applaud the President’s focus on strengthening background checks, helping to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, protecting our children in schools and honoring our great traditions of hunting and sportsmanship.
It is also critically important that the President is focusing on mental health as part of a comprehensive plan to curb gun violence. While most individuals with mental illness are not a danger to themselves or anyone else, in the aftermath of the tragedy in Connecticut, and so many tragedies in the recent past, it is important we take appropriate action to keep our children safe, and strengthening our mental health system is a key part of that.
In the coming months we must take further action in Congress to make sure individuals living with mental illness and their families can get the care and support they need.”
Finally, the NRA has a statement of its own:
“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.”