Michiana reacts to proposed gun background check legislation - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Michiana reacts to proposed gun background check legislation


Two key senators in the gun control debate say they have reached an agreement on expanding background checks for gun purchases.

Republican Patrick Toomey and Democrat Joe Manchin say they have struck a deal to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. The proposed deal involves making background checks mandatory at gun shows and for online sales.

The NRA remains opposed to expanded background check, but several Michiana gun owners say the only people who should have problems with background checks are most likely already criminals.

"We're all for keeping the guns out of the hands of criminals and people who should not have them," said Brad Rupert, Midwest Gun Exchange General Manager.

At Midwest Gun Exchange in Mishawaka, they have always required background checks, even when selling their merchandise at gun shows. Rupert says if the new legislation passes it should cut down on the loopholes other private collection sellers use.

"[Private collection sellers] advertise these sales as being without paperwork and that's where you get a lot of felons or other problems that arise with purchases through those," said Rupert.

According to Rupert, these background checks usually take no more than 20 minutes and gun enthusiasts we spoke with say they have no problem waiting around.

"I think law abiding citizens should be able to bear arms and I don't think they should have anything to hide," said Justin Loughran.

However, the NRA says the focus on Capitol Hill is not where it should be.

"The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson," said the NRA in a statement. "We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone."

Some local gun buyers agree the proposed compromised reached Wednesday probably will not prevent future tragedies.

"Most of these gun tragedies go back to people with mental illnesses who are not legal gun owners," said Robert Bycraft. "What's being discussed in Washington impacts legal gun owners. I think Washington needs to go back to look at what's gone on in these tragedies and how we can solve that."

Even though some feel this might not be the right solution, they say at least it is a step that can help.

"I think the people that are going buy guns illegally will still be able to obtain them illegally," said Al Lewis. "But if this stops one act of violence that's great."

This new proposal likely means the Senate will start debating gun legislation Thursday. There has been a lot of talk about a filibuster from conservatives, but this new proposal seems to have made that less likely.

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