Locals React To President's Initiative To Address Gun Violence
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Wednesday, the President unveiled his plan to curb gun violence. His proposals include banning military style weapons, like the one used in the Newtown school shooting; requiring a background check on all gun purchases, including private sales; and increasing the number of counselors and resource officers in schools.
"There's going to be 30, 33 people killed by drunk drivers today," Nashville Sporting Arms gun store owner Chris Tenpenny said. "I don't know if a single person in any one of those cases is going to go blame the car."
Tenpenny is also a high school chemistry teacher and has previously served as a principal. He doesn't think the President's plan to ban semi-automatic military style weapons and limit ammunition magazines to ten rounds is the way to curb gun violence and protect children.
"When you're trying to blame an inanimate object for people's irrational behavior, that's tough to do," he said.
"I don't think it's going to change a whole lot," gun owner Terry Byrnes said. "I don't think it's going to affect one person who is not mentally stable from getting their hands on something. If they can't get an AR rifle they're going to do the same thing with a single shot shotgun, or a car, or a knife, or a baseball bat."
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation between 2007 to 2011 three percent of most offenses on average were committed with a firearm. Guns were used in 65 percent of murders, 50 to 55 percent of robberies and about 30 percent of aggravated assaults.
"It is absolutely heroic that we celebrate the rights of each and every individual," Rev. Neely Williams said. But we can never put rights of individuals over the rights of young people.
In her various roles, Reverend Neely Williams too often sees how gun violence affects communities. That's why she supports the President's plan that also includes increasing improving access to mental health.
"We know we have to have a comprehensive approach," she said. "I cannot be one thing. It cannot just be access to guns. It has to be mental health."
They're initiatives that may not have prevented the shootings in Newtown, Aurora, or Virginia Tech, but some say it's worth a try.
The President signed nearly two dozen executive orders after his announcement, but the most controversial initiatives will require approval from Congress.