Locals voice strong opinions on gun control legislation - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Locals voice strong opinions on gun control legislation

Updated:
Gun shop manager Jason Gregory calls proposed legislation pointless. Gun shop manager Jason Gregory calls proposed legislation pointless.

New Orleans, La. — As Louisiana lawmakers seek new laws on gun rights and gun safety, the U.S. Senate cleared the way Thursday for debate and a vote on federal legislation that would expand background checks for people wishing to buy firearms.

Locals have strong opinions on the issue.

"We need to review the real problem here, not just try to put a Band-Aid on it to make us feel better," said Jason Gregory, manager of Gretna Gun Works. He thinks the legislation is pointless.

The Senate fended off opposition Thursday and voted to clear the way for debate on the legislation that will expand background check requirements for more gun buyers.

"With the amount of gun violence that we see locally and nationally as well, why are people so worried about there being some kind of control of how easily or how quickly or who can have possession of these weapons?" asked Ken Foster, founder of the local anti-crime group Silence is Violence.

A compromise reached by some Democratic and Republican senators with "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association could boost chances of the legislation staying alive in the Senate.

Under the agreement, background checks would be expanded for gun sales at gun shows and online, but non-commercial transactions, such as those between relatives, would be exempted. Currently, only the 55,000 licensed gun dealers around the country are required to do background checks.

"It's still not stopping the so-called loophole that they say [exists] when a person can go in a gun show and buy a gun off of another person who's walking around, just by holding a gun on them. It doesn't stop that, so if it doesn't stop that, then ask me what is it doing?" said Gregory.

And while supporters of the legislation believe it will make it much more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to get weapons, opponents of the legislation said they do not buy that argument.

"There will always be crazy people and bad people, and you need to re-check the Second Amendment.  It doesn't say anything about any restrictions," Gregory continued.

Last year, Louisiana voters amended the state constitution to strengthen gun ownership rights, and state lawmakers have proposed even more gun rights laws for the current legislative session. Gregory believes they are needed, given what could happen at the federal level.

"So we have protections, how far is that?" he asked.

Foster believes some are jumping to the wrong conclusions regarding efforts to expand background checks for gun purchases.

"If you want to get a mortgage, if you want to go to school, if you want to work for somebody, there's some degree of a background check with all of that.  So why can't we have one for owning a weapon that can kill people?" said Foster.

The legislation the Senate is expected to vote on next week also makes gun trafficking a federal crime. It also provides more federal dollars for school security.  

It's not clear yet how the legislation will fare in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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