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Teri Kramer, owner of Kramer’s Guns and Supplies in rural Ladd, talks about the potential changes in gun control laws being discussed in Washington. President Barack Obama presented his goals to curb gun violence Wednesday.
NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
Obama gun measures face tough road in Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's sweeping gun-control package faces an uncertain future on Capitol Hill, where majority House Republicans are rejecting his proposals while the president's allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate are stopping well short of pledging immediate action.
The fate of his plan could ultimately hinge on a handful of moderate Democratic senators. Although they are unlikely to endorse the president's call for banning assault weapons, they might go along with other proposals, such as requiring universal background checks on gun purchases.
Several of these senators responded warily after Obama unveiled his proposals Wednesday with the challenge that “Congress must act soon.”
Obama's proposals came a month after the shootings in Newtown, which he has called the worst day of his presidency. His announcements capped a swift and wide-ranging effort, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to respond to the deaths.
The $500 million plan marks the most comprehensive effort to tighten gun laws in nearly two decades. It also sets up a tough political fight with Congress as Obama starts his second term needing Republican support to meet three looming fiscal deadlines and pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“I will put everything I've got into this, and so will Joe,” the president said. “But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it.”
Seeking to circumvent at least some opposition, Obama signed 23 executive actions Wednesday, including orders to make more federal data available for background checks and end a freeze on government research on gun violence. But he acknowledged that the steps he took on his own would have less impact than the broad measures requiring approval from Capitol Hill. He is also calling for limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds or less.
Despite the uncertainty on Capitol Hill and opposition from the powerful NRA, outside groups are encouraged by polling showing public support for changes to the law. They intend to try to harness that sentiment to pressure lawmakers.
By Jeff Dankert and Matthew Baker NewsTribune Reporters
The Dec. 14 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., left 26 students and staff dead and sparked a national debate about gun violence followed by a lawmaking debate in Washington. This week President Barack Obama unveiled plans to lessen gun violence such as banning assault weapons, limiting capacity of ammunition magazines and instituting universal background checks. Mark Woodshank, owner of Boomers & Blasters store, has sold guns and ammunition in downtown Peru for about 20 years. Gun control efforts should focus on actions of criminals, mental health of gun owners and parent or guardian oversight of youth, he said. “Not one of these proposals is going to take care of the problem,” Woodshank said. When it comes to guns in public hands, the majority are handguns, Peru police chief Doug Bernabei said. “We do see occasionally semiautomatic assault rifles,” Bernabei said. “They are legal but there are not as many of them out there. The reality is that most assault rifles out there are semiautomatics and not illegal like fully automatic war rifles. To a certain extent I think that people that own AR-15s and other semiautomatics are getting a bad rap. They might look like a war gun but they’re really not. Police don’t even carry fully automatic rifles. Our people are armed with AR-15 semiautomatics with high-capacity 30-round magazines.” In today’s gun vernacular, one person’s assault weapon is another person’s deer rifle, Woodshank says. Although rifles are not allowed for deer in many states including Illinois, the weapon many would describe as an assault weapon is a deer rifle glittered up with assault dressing. Woodshank and Bernabei explained the differences. There are two vast misunderstandings. One, most deer rifles and assault- style rifles have the same operation and firepower. Second, many say no one needs an assault rifle for hunting. In most cases, this is an oxymoron. A deer rifle and assault-style rifle are semiautomatic (one bullet for each pull of the trigger). The most common assault-style rifle is the AR-15 at .223-caliber or the slightly less common but still widespread and larger AR-10 at .308-caliber. Operationally, AR-10s and AR-15s offer no more firepower than the equivalent-caliber deer rifle. Woodshank pointed to a rack of guns in his shop. There were the black-painted assault rifles and wooden-stock hunting rifles. The two fire the same bullet, at the same velocity, at the same rate, he said. Fully automatic rifles, commonly referred to as machine guns and which include the AK-47, fire bursts of bullets by holding the trigger down. These are available only to the military and the public can get one only under very restricted permitting. “I don’t think we need machine guns,” Woodshank said. There is a semiautomatic AK-47, which would be legal for the public to own, not because the law permits AK-47s, but because it allows semiautomatics, Woodshank said. Shortly after politicians and the media began using phrases like gun control and firearm bans, Teri Kramer’s phone began ringing. The phone at her gun shop, Kramer’s Guns and Supplies in rural Ladd, continues to ring nearly every half hour. In particular, callers from around the region are looking to get their hands on ammunition, high-capacity magazines and “military-looking” weapons, she said. “I have never been this busy,” said Kramer, who has operated the store for about 21 years. Kramer sold eight AR-style rifles in a day and a half. Normally, it would take four months to sell as many, she said. The only thing that separates these rifles from basic hunting rifles is they look ready for combat. “It shoots a regular bullet — hunting ammunition,” Kramer said. Bans on particular types of weapons tend to only increase their demand. Many are paying inflated prices on online gun auction websites, Kramer said. For example, she mentioned a man who paid $2,300 for a gun on GunBroker that she would generally sell for just $950. “People are paying astronomical prices for these,” she said. S & S Tool & Die Co., Peru manufactures metal semiautomatic and bolt-action rifle parts mostly for one customer. Bolt action rifles require use of a bolt, or lever, to manually load each cartridge into the chamber. Computer numerical control machines carve the parts out of metal. Gun parts account for about 35 percent of its business. A restriction or ban on semiautomatic rifles would greatly impact their business, said co-owner Mike Turczyn and general manager Bob Miller. “We make parts of the outer portion of the rifle and we make some of the internal workings of the rifle,” Miller said. “If they do all these gun bans it’s going to hurt people like me. It will put a lot of people out of work. It would be considerable hardship.” Miller, too, is a gun enthusiast. He collects guns and target shoots. He hunts deer with archery gear, he said. Turczyn and Miller shake their heads at the public distinction between an assault weapon and a .223 rifle. The assault gun is a “mean” looking version of a standard .223-caliber, Miller said. “It’s the most common gun in America,” he said. “I don’t think the whole gun-owning public should be punished for a couple of people who do the wrong thing." One effort might limit how many cartridges a magazine can carry. A magazine is a metal container loaded with cartridges that can be attached to certain guns. Magazines are often mistakenly called clips, Woodshank said. The idea behind lowering magazine capacity is to limit shooters’ firepower before needing to switch out magazines. Lawmakers are considering limiting magazine capacity to 10, Bernabei said. There is no statewide limit in Illinois on magazine capacity but some cities have limits, Woodshank said. “It doesn’t take you very long to change a magazine to reload a gun,” he said. Kramer said the best argument on behalf of high-capacity magazines is home defense. She shared a story of a woman who shot a home intruder multiple times but didn’t kill him, allowing him the opportunity to flee. “What if there were two intruders?” she said. Kramer may have been remembering the recently reported case in Atlanta, Ga., where a mother shot an intruder five times in the face and neck with a .38-caliber revolver before running out of bullets. The intruder fled and was found by police in a neighboring driveway. Aside from defense purposes, high-capacity magazines may be more convenient for some gun enthusiasts, she said. Someone with lethal intentions could easily carry more than one magazine with fewer than 10 rounds and there are so many high-capacity magazines already available it would almost always be easy for someone to find them, Kramer said. “What effect is the ban going to have?” she said. “The ban is not going to stop any tragedy, unfortunately.” Customers were lining up inside Boomers and Blasters. Jim Jacobs of Granville jumped into the discussion. “When I go out plinking I’d rather load up a 25-round magazine,” he said. Jacobs was looking for mini-14s. These guns shoot the same rounds as the AR guns, he said. “The reason I look for guns is for home protection,” Jacobs said. “If they know you got a gun and a dog they don’t like coming into your place. I’m not really worried about it where I live but there’s always that one crazy (person) out there.” Jacobs rarely hunts, he said. “I’d rather go out target shooting than hunting,” Jacobs said. Most crimes are committed with handguns, Bernabei said. “I’m not an advocate of gun control,” he said. Instead, Bernabei favors “very stiff consequences for those who violate our existing gun laws.” “The bad people are still going to have guns,” he said. Bernabei said he favors tightening up laws to allow keeping guns from the mentally ill separate, much more than trusting a shooter’s word on an application for a firearm permit. “I think there’s got to be some other mechanism out there that when people have mental health issues ... that we have the authority to look a little closer with that person,” he said. Hardened criminals and the mentally-disturbed commit mass gun shootings, Bernabei said. “Taking guns away from you and me is not going to solve any of our problems.” he said. Woodshank, Jacobs and Miller said they are concerned about laws impinging their hobby and right to use guns. “It’s not the weapons that do the damage,” Jacobs said. “It’s the mentality of the person who uses the weapon.”
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by:
On January 26, Toyota announced that until they had finalized an appropriate remedy to address the potential for sticking accelerator pedals, sales would be suspended for selected vehicles. On January 31, 2010 the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. regulators cleared Toyota's proposed repair for the pedals and the company would resume production by February 8. On February 1, 2010 Toyota said that its dealers should get parts to fix the sticky accelerator pedal by the end of the week.
As for the air craft, The grounding was a good thing before, key word, [before }one life was lost. So a few people can stomp their feet and say it's my right and I will shoot any one who says it isn't. If this style, type, mod.of gun helps one feel like a tough, macho man, then so be it and that is what it does to those who need an equlalizer to make them feel tougher than a child. There are plenty of styles of guns that will kill a coyote or fox, hell they will even kill a human but are not the weapon of choice Most will say no testing will stop killing so I will not be tested and it is impossable to test a dead person after the fact.
And sir, madam, I do not hate guns. They are a tool to be used by men, race not gender, to kill things.and I will treat them as just that.
I have been called to use them for just that and if called will do so again. I worship God and not guns.
God gives life. Guns take life. Both by the use of man.
Guns will be around for a very long time and man will use them to kill with and all those men will not be criminals and you cannot dispute that fact though I am sure you will try.
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
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A whole fleet of air craft has been grounded because one malfunctioned.
Wrong. Grounded due to at least 4 malfunctions that I know of.
Autos have been pulleds from prodiction because afew started on fire or failed to stop.
Wrong. They have had recalls but not had production stopped.
Shotgun shells with lead shot are also NOT illegal as you say. They can not be used for certain things or used in certain places but NOT illegal.
Could you please provide me with a list of the "over half" of the states where the .223 can not be used to hunt with? Myself, I can't think of even ONE such state. Illinois does not allow deer hunting with it but it most certainly IS legal to hunt coyotes, fox, etc...
Did you even READ the article? Or did you just post the same drivel upon seeing the subject was about guns?
Perhaps instead of posting the comments you do, you should read and comprehend what the story is about. Here we had local, everyday citizens giving common sense remarks in response to knee-jerk, emotion filled outcries for "doing something". NONE of the new laws, bans, restrictions, penalties or whatever you call them will stop a crazy person from going on a rampage. NOBODY will EVER be able to round up and collect ALL of the guns should they ever become illegal to possess. Criminals will ALWAYS have guns simply because they don't obey the laws. Having 1 or 2 or even 100 new laws won't make criminals suddenly decide to "behave".
We get your point that you don't like guns. But if you are going to post comments, get your facts straight and at least sound somewhat intelligent about it.
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
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Let me see. A whole fleet of air craft has been grounded because one malfunctioned. Autos have been pulleds from prodiction because afew started on fire or failed to stop. Weapons have been banned from use because they are deemed to be to dangerous. I want a sawed of shot gun, a automatic weapon, a knife with a spring loaded seven inch blade, a shot gun shell loaded with piano wire, I want shotgun shells with lead shot .
All of these and more are not legal. I know, I know, they have been that way for ever and yet I ask why you as a dealer accept but not a ban on what you say is a populsr weapon. Is it popular because it is controversial or because it is so versital. which is it? Can't be used for hunting squirles, rabbits, quail Phesant and such.Heck, most of the time one in the .223 cal won't bring down a deer and cannot be used to hunt with in over half of the states. It is just pure, plain bullheadedness, you say I can't and so I will show you I will, that makes it as popular as it is. So you say it is fine for you to act like a thirteen year old just do'n't treat you like one Most of us, at some point in our lives, grow up. When will you?