Area residents had mixed opinions Wednesday on President Obama’s proposals for curbing gun violence, which include asking Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
Andy Stickle of Gapland said although he is a hunter he supports the gun control proposals, specifically background checks and a ban on assault weapons.
“There are too many nuts out there with assault weapons killing our youth,” Stickle, 63, said. “When the Second Amendment was put in place, it was actually for people that were fighting with bows and arrows and muskets.”
Brian Jacobs of Funkstown said the federal government actions cannot stop gun violence.
“People are getting them illegally now, so they’re going to keep getting them illegally,” said Jacobs, 53.
“People are going to continue to act crazy, and if you make it illegal all that will do is take them (guns) away from law abiding citizens.”
Bill Stoneberger, 68, of Hagerstown said he supports background checks and assault weapons bans, but also targeted video games.
“I remember years ago they canceled ‘The Wild Wild West’ television show because there was too much violence, and today it’s beyond that,” he said. “I think the videos and games for these kids who are sitting in their bedrooms, and all they play is killing people, is wrong.”
Lisa Harbour, 43, of Waynesboro, Pa., opposed an assault weapons ban but supported background checks and facing mental health issues.
“I think it’s a slippery slope, and the more concessions being made to the Second Amendment I think will just do away with guns,” she said.
Virgil Handley, 66, of Hagerstown, agreed with both sides. While he supported all of the president’s proposals, he expressed support for placing armed guards in schools, a position the NRA has taken.
“That would go a lot further toward making sure the schools were safe and less penetrable,” he said.
Craig Dofflemyer, 27, of Hagerstown, supported universal background checks but not assault weapons bans, saying he believes there is no way to keep people from getting them.
“Universal background checks is not a horrible idea, but banning assault weapons is not going to stop anything because mentally ill people can still access them on the black market,” he said. “I in no way want to downplay Newtown or any other shooting, but you have assault weapons in places with complete weapons bans and you still have deaths. Any sane, educated, of-age American who wants to own a gun should be able to, but there should be background checks.”