Gun owners await new gun laws

5:29 PM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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GRAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER)--As Federal, State and local governments wrestle with new gun legislation, gunowners are waiting to see how new laws will affect them. They are also buying guns.

At Howell's Gun and Archery Center in Gray, business is exceptionally busy.  Adam Copp says there is no agreement among his customers.  He thinks many of them would support universal background checks.

"I would have closed the gun show loop hole," he told NEWS CENTER. None of us in this business are going to have a problem with everybody doing a background check." 

At Howell's, a purchaser of firearms must fill out a form.  It is designed to eliminate felons, fugitives as well as those who are addicted to drugs, been adjudicated as mentally defective  or dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.

However, there is frustration among gun owners that many who are advocating for stricter gun laws do not understand guns.  Even the definition of what an "assault weapon" is debated by the two sides.

"People get caught on what it looks like as opposed to what it actually does," says Copp.

Competitive sports shooter Frank Assennato believes the problem is that guns get into the hands of people with mental illness. "legal gun owners who get a background check and get concealed carry permits aren't going out and committing crimes.  It's all the crimanls and they're not doing anything to disarm the criminals. That would make sense."

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck would like to see universal background checks as well.  However, he points out that Maine is one of about a dozen states that does not report such ineligible people to the federal government.

"When I look at this from a law enforcement perspective, I think dealing with the mentally ill siuation nationally and within the state are very important.  I also think universal background checks are very important.  When youhave 40% of guns that are bought and sold privately with nodocumentation and no background system that applies, that's problematic for all of us," Sauschuck said.

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