Mixed reactions for Pres. Obama's plan to reduce gun violence

Mixed reactions for President Obama's plan to reduce gun violence

Posted:

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -  Flanked by children who wrote to him after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, President Barack Obama called on Congress to ban military style assault rifles, high capacity magazines and require background checks for all gun purchases.

President Obama also signed executive orders strengthening the national criminal background check system and calling for more federal research on gun violence.  

The president also pushed for increased availability of mental health services, which many support in East Tennessee.  

Some are divided on the president asking congress to ban assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition clips.  

Gun stores around East Tennessee were flooded with people looking to get their hands on high-capacity magazine clips and assault rifles.

Many fear they could go to the wayside, if congress adopts President Obama's recommendation to ban them.

"People just wanted to get what they wanted while they could," said Steve Bowman, the owner of CrossRoads Firearms in Fountain City.  

A month after that horrific massacre at Sandy Hook, the president also used his powers to enact 23 measures that do not require the backing of lawmakers.

The orders includes steps to make schools safer with more school resource officers and better emergency response plans.

Parents of students at Fountain City Elementary School say the gun control measures are welcome news.  

"I think it's a great idea, I think the decisions he made are good for the elementary schools. I think cops need to be at elementary schools, just like the middle and high school," said Love Ferris, a parent of a student at Fountain City Elementary School.  

Proposals also call for stronger and universal background checks on gun sales.

The White House estimates 40 percent of gun purchases are made through private party sales without any background checks.  

Jim Quinn, the owner of Knoxville Tactical, says he agrees on having stronger background checks.  

"We have some of guns of our own that are private guns, and we do not take those guns to the gun show and sell them, simply because we can't do a background check," Quinn said.  

Many gun store owners question whether universal background checks can prevent a black market. 

"There can be laws saying that you can't do that, but there's nobody that can track it and manage it," Bowman said.  

Others hope limiting access to assault rifles could prevent another Sandy Hook.

 "There has to be some control on the stronger, more deadly weapons, the assault weapons," said Jackie Thurman, the grandmother of two students at Fountain City Elementary School.

In a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 88 percent of Americans said they support a law requiring background checks in sales at gun shows, including 89 percent of republicans.

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