Proposed assault weapon ban missing target of national safety?

By: Sabrina Wu Email
By: Sabrina Wu Email

Local law enforcement and NRA members say President Barack Obama’s request for legislation banning assault weapons is missing the target in terms of making the country safer.

“I'm very pro second amendment, and I really think that's not going to do a whole lot of good,” said Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers. “From a law enforcement perspective, there are so many other ways to do a mass killing, and we've seen it throughout history.”

Rogers said the approach does not make a lot of sense in his opinion.
“The true problem is the heart of man and that's the problem. It's not so much the tool,” said Rogers.

On Wednesday, the president laid out a 23-point executive order as to how to implement laws already on the books. He also asked lawmakers to cooperate on creating and passing legislation that would restore a ban on military-style assault weapons and magazine clips with a round capacity greater than 10 rounds.

“They're addressing this issue the same way that if you want to deal with drunk driving, and you want to talk about eliminating the capacity of your gas tank, you want to increase the price of gasoline so you won't have people drunk driving,” said Randall Perry, an NRA-certified firearms instructor and owner of Madi Max Security in Bristol.

The president’s request for stricter gun control legislation came outside his executive orders, which included, among other things, requests to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

Ultimately, it will be members of Congress who will be responsible for drawing up legislation to turn Obama’s vision into a reality.

Local political experts say people should not underestimate the weight public opinion will have on proposed legislation.

“Members of congress are instruments of the citizens who elect them, so nomatter what side you are on in this debate, certainly reaching out to your lawmaker, expressing your opinion will be worthwhile,” said Jamie Smith, Indiana State University South Bend assistant political science professor. “Votes are currency to members of congress. They need to respond to those constituents.”

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