Columbus shooting range owner, parents react to recent mass shootings

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 10:53 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As the country grapples with at least 13 mass shootings in America this past weekend, leaving more than a dozen dead, the heat is on Congress to see how lawmakers will respond to calls to change the country’s gun laws.

According to the CDC, firearms were the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S. in 2020, surpassing deaths by car crashes, drug overdoses, and cancer. As a result, people in the Chattahoochee Valley feel something needs to be done about gun laws.

From the massacre at an elementary school in Texas, a deadly assault at a medical facility in Oklahoma, and a racist rampage at a supermarket in New York, coupled with fatal shootings in South Carolina, Chattanooga, Michigan and Arizona, just this weekend, one father says 18-year-olds shouldn’t be allowed to purchase semi-automatic rifles.

“The crazy thing is we’re sending them off to war with the same guns at the same age, so how can you justify not letting them do it, but as you see in school shootings, that is the main example of why it definitely should be just a certain age. I feel like 25 years older or older should be a better set,” said Stormy Henderson, a parent.

News Leader 9 spoke with the owner of Shooters, a shooting range in Columbus, and she says guns aren’t the issue.

“Not a single one of these firearms in here is going to jump up. It’s not going to hurt anybody, then, fortunately, takes somebody with evil intent that has it in their hand, and the unfortunate thing is you don’t find out people have evil intent a lot of times until unfortunately, it’s too late,” Nicole Bessinger.

One parent said no one should use semi-automatics rifles if they are not fighting in a war.

“I don’t think anybody, regardless of age, you look at the pictures of the guns that are used in the shooting spree these mass murders and they’re certainly not handguns that people have in their homes to defend their homes.”

On June 2, President Biden addressed the nation, saying that nothing has been done after dozens of mass shootings. This time that can’t be true. This time, we must actually do something he says.

“We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21. Strengthen background checks. Enact safe storage laws and red-flag laws,” said Biden. “Over 156 days into 2022, the country has now seen at least 246 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. That puts the U.S. on track for one of the deadliest years on record since the archive began tracking gun deaths.”

Republicans argue the focus should be on mental health, not guns.

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