Shop Owners Unimpressed
Measures To Halt Firearms Violence Misfire With Local Merchants
Posted: January 17, 2013
Walter “Dubby” Carr stocks ammunition in his store, Dubby’s Fishing and Hunting, on Waterman Drive in Harrisonburg, recently. Carr is skeptical of President Barack Obama’s push to curtail gun violence in America. “The real criminal, he’s going to do what he’s got to do,” regardless of the law, Carr says. (Photos by Nikki Fox / DN-R)
Dubby Carr works recently at Dubby’s Fishing and Hunting, which he co-owns with his wife, Cindy. Carr is one of several area gun shop owners voicing skepticism about President Barack Obama’s plans to curb gun violence in America.
“I still get stolen from,” Carr said. “I just stop the people who are intimidated by cameras. … The real criminal, he’s going to do what he’s got to do.”
Among wide-ranging gun control proposals unveiled by Obama on Wednesday was a request of Congress to require universal background checks on gun purchases.
It’s a measure that some Valley gun shop owners vehemently oppose, for reasons that include the belief that determined criminals cannot be stopped.
“How do they plan to enforce it? The ones who aren’t going to do it are the criminals,” said Carr, who owns Dubby’s Fishing and Hunting. “In general, these laws are not going to stop criminals from getting guns. … They’ll make them if they have to.”
Dennis Golden, owner of Ashby Arms in Harrisonburg, questioned the constitutionality of the checks.
“That is the federal government putting a regulation and restriction on legally selling your private property,” he said. “It’s so out in left field … there’s no medium. It’s an absolutely unconstitutional move.”
A counterargument comes from Buzzy Taylor, manager and co-owner of Bennie’s Beach, a campground that also sells guns outside of Broadway.
“If you’re trying to control the number of idiots in the world who have [guns], then everybody should be playing on the same field,” he said. “Crooks don’t come [to my store] to get guns. They know they’re going to get caught. They go to the individuals.
“Too many people who shouldn’t have them, have them.”
Obama outlined a $500 million plan that includes adding police officers to schools and studying the effects of violent video games on gun crimes. He also introduced 23 executive orders, which do not require Congressional approval.
In addition to expanded background checks, Obama wants Congress to approve a ban on military-style assault weapons and impose a 10-round limit on magazines.
Gun shop owners say neither of those measures will have the desired impact. Without assault weapons, they say criminals will still find a way to get armed and shoot someone else, if they are committed to do harm.
As for the magazine limit, that is “stupid,” Taylor said.
“If you’re only allowed 10 rounds and you have a 30-round clip, all you need to do is carry three [guns],” Taylor said. “It’s not going to help a thing.”
Problems run deeper and beyond guns, shop owners stress. Carr says gun issues “lead well” for politicians, though focus should be on mental health. Obama’s plan includes training more health professionals to deal with young people who may be at risk.
To that end, America needs to put its “big boy pants” on to get people proper treatment, Golden said.
“We do not tell crazy people they’re crazy any more,” he said. “We feel like we’re ostracizing somebody if we tell somebody they are criminally insane. … Criminally crazy people are always going to be criminally crazy people.”
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