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Gun rights supporters oppose Biden orders

Staff photo / David Skolnick Tom Rinehart, manager of Precision Shooting in Austintown, holds a Ruger AR-556 rifle at his store.

Tom Rinehart, manager of Precision Shooting, an Austintown gun store, says President Joe Biden’s gun-control executive orders are an “overreach” by the government and won’t stop violence.

“The bad guy doesn’t buy a gun at a gun store,” he said. “You could put all sorts of restrictions in place, but it still isn’t going to stop the guy bound and determined to commit a crime.”

Biden issued executive orders Thursday that include requiring “ghost guns,” which are homemade guns built from a kit, to be treated as firearms that mandate serial numbers and background checks on buyers.

He also ordered those buying stabilizing braces, which make guns more accurate, be required to provide their names and other identifying information to the U.S. Justice Department just as those buying silencers must do.

Rinehart sells ghost guns, which are plastic bodies for making guns.

“I hate the term ‘ghost gun,’ but that particular item is a frame,” he said. “Where the serial number would be, there’s a plate so you can add your own serial number if you were to sell it. A ghost gun is designed to allow a person to build a gun at home and shoot a gun for your own recreation or self-defense. It’s a piece of plastic. There’s no barrel or trigger.”

Stabilizing braces allow a person to get a better shot, Rinehart said.

“That doesn’t make it any more lethal than a shotgun,” he said. “It looks scary so it’s a good photo op.”

John Davenport of Youngstown, who owns Topsy’s Lounge on Logan Avenue in the city, was at Precision Shooting on Friday to buy a Smith & Wesson 9mm gun.

“Times are getting bad, and I have to carry one just for protection of myself and my family,” he said.

Regarding Biden’s executive orders, Davenport said: “It’s not going to do anything. People are going to get guns regardless. I’m doing it the right way. If I wanted, I could go get a gun right now, but I want to do it the right way.”

He added: “Putting restrictions makes it more difficult for people who want to protect themselves. I’m not trying to hurt anybody.”

CONGRESSIONAL REACTIONS

But U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, said Biden’s executive orders are a good start.

“We have lost far too many American lives to preventable mass shootings and gun violence that have gone unanswered by Congress,” he said. “The vast majority of Americans support common-sense gun reform. This leadership by President Biden is long overdue and will undoubtedly save lives.”

Biden’s executive orders show the limitations of the president’s authority over gun control.

Congress has to act on major changes.

“Whether Congress acts or not, I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal as president to keep the American people safe from gun violence,” Biden said. “But there’s much more that Congress can do to help that effort and they can do it right now.”

However, with a divided Senate, it’s going to be difficult to get the Republican votes needed.

Biden asked the Senate to pass House bills to tighten background checks and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. He also called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, said: “The bottom line is that more federal gun control laws will do nothing to deter criminals from getting guns. However, they will stop law-abiding citizens from being able to exercise their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms to defend themselves and their families.”

Johnson also said Biden wasn’t “honest” during his speech about guns, “most notably his outright lie about gun shows.”

During the speech, Biden said: “You go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want and no background check.”

U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge, said: “Addressing the threat that gun violence poses to our communities should not be a Republican or Democrat issue. We can all agree that Americans should not be going to bed horrified by the news of a mass shooting only to wake up to headlines of another.”

Joyce said he agrees with Biden that “we should strongly support community violence intervention programs.” But, he said, he doesn’t “believe unilaterally implementing gun-control measures through executive orders will stop criminals from carrying out acts of evil.”

He called on Congress “to get serious about better understanding the root causes of these horrific crimes and (working) together to reduce gun violence without depriving law-abiding citizens of their constitutional rights.”

Joyce said he’s the only member of Congress to have prosecuted a high school shooter, referring to his time as Geauga County prosecutor in which he prosecuted Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane.

“I have repeatedly offered to sit down with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and find bipartisan solutions that reduce gun violence,” he said. “I have yet to be taken up on that offer, but it still stands nonetheless.”

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