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Gun owners leery of Obama's call for wider background checks

Posted January 5, 2016

— Gun sales are up at Fuquay Gun and Gold in the wake of mass shootings from California to South Carolina and a promise by President Barack Obama to crack down on gun sales.

Manager Matt Reeves said Tuesday that he’s not opposed to Obama's call for universal background checks on gun buyers.

"I’d like to see his approach as to how he plans to address everybody going through a background check," Reeves said. "The only way I see they’d be able to enforce a national background check like that is to have a gun registry, which of course nobody’s going to want to enforce a gun registry."

Gun owner Matthew Maniace said he keeps guns on hand for protection.

"It's very scary being disabled and having a daughter and trying to protect my family," Maniace said. "My hands are tied. The criminals' hands are never tied."

Although he doesn’t want more gun laws, Maniace said he agrees with Obama that existing laws should be strictly enforced. Too many guns end up in the hands of the mentally ill, he said, but he doesn't see a realistic way to keep them out of the hands of criminals without infringing on his Second Amendment rights.

"How could you do that? You can’t," he said. "Knowing you can’t do that, wouldn’t you feel safer having a gun in your house?"

Gun rights in North Carolina

With President Barack Obama announcing plans to expand background checks to cover more firearms sold at gun shows, online and anywhere else, the issue of gun rights is again at the top of minds across the state and country.

For the second time in three years, WRAL.com is curious about what readers think about different gun rights issues, and whether those views have changed since 2013. Questions included in the poll below were generated for a 2013 study commissioned by WRAL.

See the results from WRAL.com's original poll in 2013.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

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  • Betsy Smith Jan 6, 2016
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    "What I think would be an additional level of security would be to have initial and follow up (maybe even random) psychological evals for gun owners. When a gun owner begins to show mental health issues, it's time to restrict their access to firearms. "

    Good luck with that. Likely to result in a lawsuit for violating one's rights. We already don't fund the resources needed to adequately police welfare, medicaid, manage our borders, provide VA medical care, inspect coal ash ponds, etc. And this would exclude all of the unregistered gun owners. Doubt anyone would feel better knowing a perp passed an evaluation with flying colors.

  • Betsy Smith Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    Ridiculous to ignore enforcement of current laws and add more that criminals will continue break. The only people affected by the laws are law abiding citizens. Better to stop giving repeat criminals probation and house arrest but that won't happen. All boils down to money and resources but it sounds good especially in an election year.

  • Deborrah Newton Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    Ineffective unilateral acts [by the President] will not make a solid legacy. Let us demonstrate that we care about the innocent affected by these killings by spending the Nation's purse on the Mental Health Initiatives that at least have a chance of reaching the wrongdoers well BEFORE they act. Most of our States, including our Governor McCrory along with our Chief Justice Martin, have ordered Commission[s] be formed to bring effective recommendations to that effect on an urgent schedule. These are State issues affecting a collective federal injury to all of us; working together instead of at cross purposes would make more sense. Deb Newton, Attorney

  • Darron Smith Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    There are already laws on the books making it illegal for people who have involuntarily admitted for mental health issues and domestic violence to possess/purchase firearms . There are people in our gov't that don't support the 2A and I wouldn't want them in charge of who or who cannot own a firearm when it comes mental evaluations. Enforcing laws already on the books is a start. I have no problems with mandatory sentencing for crimes committed with firearms.

  • Roger Way Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    We are more or less near the same page, Janet ... and my compliments to you for dealing with an obsessive neighbor. I agree with you 100% in perfect world theory. As a retired cop, I know that the reality is far outside the realm of possibility. Welfare agents, probation officers, social workers, and the like - people in jobs similar to what you're suggesting - are overwhelmed trying to keep up with normal demands. Add gun-owner home visits on even a once-per-annum basis would be outrageously costly in manpower and resources. Requiring gun owners to report to a license bureau type layout once or twice a year would be invasive and ineffective.

    In my opinion, the key is Zero Tolerance enforcement with Mandatory, No-Deal, No-Parole minimum sentencing for every gun-involved crime, every time, nationwide. I also feel that any police response to a gun-owner home for a serious violent, drug, or alcohol related felony should trigger your suggested review and weapon confiscation.

  • Janet Ghumri Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    Roger, I understand your point, and the California law is along the lines of what I think MAY help. Unfortunately, the family members are usually the ones crying about what a "good boy" the perpetrators are, once the killing is done.
    I don't normally advocate for more stringent laws, but we are talking about weapons, not lollipops. When I have the right to own a firearm, you should have the RIGHT to some degree of security that I'm not an angry nut-case who is liable to flip-out over parking, or a dog barking, etc. (For the record, I live in a nice subdivision, and I DO have a neighbor who is a nut-case over where EVERYONE parks)
    If you're packing heat, I would like to think that someone is at least checking up on what your current mental health is looking like. As far as the family restricting the access to the firearms, a lot of these killers are estranged from their families, and the others seem to be able to get at the weapons anyway

  • Roger Way Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    "When a gun owner begins to show mental health issues, it's time to restrict their access to firearms."

    And who monitors this? The government? The same government that can't rein in Medicaid fraud and can't track it's own excesses and failures? No thank you! None of us need Big Brother looking over our shoulders.

    On the other hand, a law recently went into effect in California allowing police to confiscate weapons from any home without a warrant and hold them for up to 12 days if a family member reports "erratic or mentally unstable behavior" from the gun owner or another resident in the home. The law refers to it as a "Firearm Restraining Order." Maybe that's along the lines of what you're thinking. My question is - why can't the Family Members be responsible enough to take and hide the weapons until the threat is past. WHY do the police have to get involved at all?

    Fewer Laws - More Enforcement - Less Government interference - more individual responsibility and accountability

  • Janet Ghumri Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    Enforcement of the existing laws, without prejudice, would be a start, and no law-abiding citizen, gun owner is saying it isn't. Buying a firearm, legally, and submitting to the background check is a no-brainer.
    What I think would be an additional level of security would be to have initial and follow up (maybe even random) psychological evals for gun owners. When a gun owner begins to show mental health issues, it's time to restrict their access to firearms. When the perpetrators of gun crime plead "Not-guilty by reason of mental disease or defect", it's a little late to find out that they are suffering from mental illness. It's not going to help with illegal firearms, I admit, but at least it may help to removing firearms from people who need help. I would be comfortable with having an evaluation to ensure my right to owning a firearm and to filter out unstable gun owners. And it would help to put a lot of new psychology majors to work, a Win-win in my humble opinion.

  • Roger Way Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    The very simple fact that CRIMINALS who are caught in possession of illegal firearms are allowed to deal to a lesser crime - or allowed to walk altogether - shows that our governments - Federal, State, and Local - have NO REAL INTEREST in halting gun violence. They simply crave the SPOTLIGHT of either being publicly in favor of or opposed to the sale, possession, and use of firearms.

    If these low-life hoods knew that having ANY firearm in their possession during the commission of a crime would result in a MANDATORY, NO DEAL, NO PAROLE FIVE-YEAR SENTENCE and mere possession of an illegal firearm meant a MANDATORY, NO DEAL, NO PAROLE TEN-YEAR SENTENCE, there would be one heck of a lot fewer gun related crimes.

    Why should our LAWS and COURTS be ridiculously less ZERO TOLERANT than our SCHOOLS?! Point your finger at another kid and say "Bang" and you're suspended or expelled. Carry a stolen gun down a city street and you get a slap on the wrist.

  • Roger Way Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    If our President were to announce stricter enforcement of existing federal gun laws against CRIMINALS and promise mandatory nonnegotiable federal sentences of five years or longer for ANY use or possession of a firearm by a criminal with mandatory DOUBLE TERMS for ANY illegal firearm possession or use, I would PRAISE this man's name to the heavens above.
    Instead, he once again sidesteps the Constitutional legislative process and employs stage tears and fear tactics to promote meaningless limits against honest citizens that will have an absolute zero effect on gun crimes - All solely for political gain.
    Where is the logic? Where is the leadership?