Bay Area events bring out both sides of gun control debate

April 13, 2013 5:24:23 PM PDT
A mother who lost her child in the Newtown school shooting stepped in for President Barack Obama Saturday, delivering his weekly address and making a push for tighter gun control.

That message came as both sides in the gun control debate took part in events in the Bay Area, including a gun buyback in South San Francisco while a gun show was held at the Cow Palace in Daly City.

There is a clear disconnect. There were thousands attending the first day of a two day gun show. Everyone I spoke with agreed that more should be done to get illegally obtained weapons off of the streets. But those who have purchased their guns legally don't feel they should be further regulated or monitored.

"Five children a day are killed in this country, due to gun violence," said Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo said.

The California congresswoman, along with several local city leaders, held a gun buyback in South San Francisco. Gun owners were encouraged to surrender their weapons for cash, no questions asked.

"It's gets a lot of the guns off the street and out of the houses that aren't being used that could eventually maybe fall in the wrong hands," gun owner Patrick Killeen said.

The congresswoman's efforts don't stop there. Speier wants a federal ban on assault weapons and complete background checks.

"We're arguing right now about one of the most sensible laws that we should have on the books -- universal background checks," she said.

As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, she introduced the Gun Transparency and Accountability Act earlier this year. The bill would remove the requirement that background checks be destroyed within 24 hours and make them available to other government agencies.

"The constitution is to keep the government from trying, I think, to control all of us as much as they want to," gun owner Thomas said.

A record number of gun enthusiasts flocked to the gun show at the Cow Palace out of fear that potential new gun control regulations could soon make guns and ammo more difficult to obtain.

"So we are under the microscope," Crossroads of the West owner Bob Templeton said. "And the bad guys don't get their guns at gun shows, they go outside to other sources out on the streets."

Those who put on these gun shows point out that California's gun laws require background checks and a ten-day hold for weapons bought at the events.

"I want to make sure that we protect our second amendment rights, but I want to be part of the process of addressing the problems of gun violence in America," Templeton said.

At least 14 republican senators have threatened to filibuster legislation that would support new gun laws. The Obama administration continues to fight for bipartisan support.

The gun show continues Sunday, as will the debate over gun control.


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