What does Obama’s order mean? Local gun retailers aren’t sure

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Local merchants aren’t quite sure what Obama’s new rules would mean for them. Here, Kala Shaw  of Fletchers, poses with an AR-15.

Local merchants aren’t quite sure what Obama’s new rules would mean for them. Here, Kala Shaw of Fletchers, poses with an AR-15.

In an emotional speech Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama made a fervent call for actions to limit gun violence in the United States, but local gun retailers aren’t sure what that means for them, yet.

The father of a shooting victim in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mark Barden, introduced the president.

“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” Obama said, as he wiped away tears from his eyes.


Obama referenced mass shootings in Fort Hood, Binghamton, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, the Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Charleston and San Bernadino.

“Five years ago, a sitting member of Congress and 18 others were shot at, at a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz.,” he said. “It wasn’t the first time I had to talk to the nation in the response a mass shooting, nor would it be the last.”

Obama said that thanks to a great medical team and the love of her husband, Mark, then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords survived the shooting.

“She’s here with us today with her wonderful mom,” he said.

The president cited statistics showing that each year more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns. Those numbers include suicides, domestic violence, gang shootouts, accidents, and more.

“A number of those people are here today,” he said. “They can tell you some stories. There’s a lot of heartache. There’s a lot of resilience, there’s a lot of strength, but there’s a lot of pain.”

Obama said the U.S. is not the only country on Earth with violent and dangerous people.

“We are not inherently more prone to violence,” he said. “But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries.”

Obama said that instead of solving the problem, it has become a “one of the most polarized, partisan debates.”

“I’m not on the ballot again,” he said. “I’m not looking to score some points. I think we can disagree without impugning other people’s motives or without being disagreeable.”

Locally, businesses were unsure what they will have to do in the future as a result of executive orders issued by the president.

Sporting Lifestyles Owner John Tisdale said they hadn’t received anything in writing.

“We don’t know what we are dealing with,” he said. “It might be premature to say anything at this point.”

Kevin at Stokes Sporting Goods had similar thoughts.

“I have only heard what two people have told me,” he said. “We are just trying to see what is going to happen. That’s about all we can do.”

The Obama administration plans to, through executive order:

• issue guidance that will narrow who can sell guns without a federal license, based on an evaluation of the circumstances surrounding individual gun sales;

• The FBI will hire more than 230 more people to help run background checks – an increase of more than 50 percent to the current staff – in an effort to speed up the process;

• The government will also require background checks for people who try to buy restricted firearms through a legal entity, such as a corporation or trust. People were able to avoid background checks in the past through these entities;

• The Department of Health and Human Services will finalize a rule regarding health record privacy laws to remove barriers to states providing mental health records to the background check system;

• The administration will enforce tighter rules for reporting guns that are lost or stolen on their way to the buyers to make it easier for law enforcement to track down missing firearms.

• Federal agencies will encourage and fund more research into technologies that can make guns safer, largely to reduce the risk of accidents.

Republicans weren’t too happy about the president’s decision.

“President Obama is wrong to try to bypass Congress to unilaterally mandate his gun control agenda, and it won’t stand,” Rep. Martha Roby, who represents the Wiregrass, said. “I‘m a gun owner myself, and I strongly value the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment. There is a reason Congress has repeatedly rejected President Obama’s gun control agenda: on top of being unconstitutional, his proposals would not have prevented the recent attacks he uses to justify new laws. Instead of forcing unconstitutional gun regulations that have little hope of stopping premeditated attacks, I believe our focus should be dealing with the root causes, specifically mental health and terrorism.”