Mixed local reaction to Obama gun initiative

January 17, 2013 5:27:59 AM PST
From school officials to gun shop owners, there was mixed reaction in the Delaware Valley to President Obama's gun control propsals.

The Action Cam was there for dismissal Wednesday at Jenkintown Elementary School.

Mom Julie Scaples applauded the president's call to revive the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

"I've never quite understood why anyone needed to own a gun that was capable of that much destruction," she said.

Ray Rauanheimo of Warminster, Bucks County, a grandfather, owns a handgun, but questions the need for greater firepower by civilians.

"I don't think it has to be an assault weapon. I don't need to have anything that the police have or the military has," he said.

At Classic Pistol in Southampton, Bucks County there has been brisk business in those weapons targeted by the White House.

"There's been panic buying so you get them before they're banned," said owner Robert Kostaras.

Kostaras and patrons we spoke with were giving the president's package mixed reviews.

Most support the idea of universal background checks, something that's already in place for handguns in Pennsylvania.

There is also considerable support for better reporting of mental health records to the background check process.

One man told Action News people need to look around to make sure unbalanced individuals don't get guns.

"If you know somebody's got a reputation of not being too well-packed upstairs, and you know that they can get a gun or have gotten a gun, maybe you should drop a dime on them," he said.

But as for the ban on military-derived assault rifles like the AR-15 or the Soviet-designed AK-47, gun owners we spoke with said it is nothing more than a political feel-good effort - something that will penalize law-abiding owners but have little impact on crime.

"We had a ban on it for ten years, 1994 to 2004, and it doesn't make any sense. It didn't do anything. It had no effect. It had zero effect," said Michael Johnson of Phoenixville, Pa.