Those in the gun community will naturally defend their guns.
“Guns are meant to protect, they’re meant to provide, people use them to provide food for the table,” says Kevin Bullock.
And when there’s a public mass shooting, they are the first to get a black eye. The mentally ill, though, who have a record similar to John Russell Houser, they say, should never have been given a gun in the first place.
“I know there’s been failures in the past where mental institutions, doctors have not been reporting mental illness to the proper authorities to where they would be denied access to a gun. So yes, I have a problem with that because it reflects badly on the gun community even though it’s not our fault,” says Ryan Wells.
Houser was treated for mental illness in 2008 and 2009, said to suffer from bipolar disorder and had a history of arson and domestic violence. His wife even hid his guns from him. We’re not sure if these guns were obtained before or after his history with bipolar disorder. The wrong person behind a gun is as deadly as the wrong person behind a car and gun owners say it’s not fair to single out their community.
“And you know, they could pick up a bat and hit them in the head and it would be the same thing but people don’t want to get rid of bats because somebody gets hit over the head with them, and they’ll certainly not going to get of their cars, who kill more people than guns by far,” says Glenn Howard.
The “Fix NICS” Initiative aims to encourage all states to hand over important records that can tell if a person suffers from a mental illness and should not be in possession of a firearm. Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia have passed legislation relevant to the initiative, but in order for a true background check to work, all states must participate.
“I don’t see nothing wrong with it, everyone needs protection. People use guns for the wrong thing but hey, safety first. So, it ain’t how you use the gun, it’s the person behind the gun,” says Mark Dale.
Many believe a gun show acts as a loophole to get a gun more easily, but folks leaving the show today tell me it’s easier to buy a gun on the street than it is to buy one at a gun show.