(Memphis) It was so packed at the Gun and Knife Show at the Agricenter Saturday, you could be barely move around. Folks admiring, selling and buying anything from knives, to handguns to assault guns.
“There is panic because of the uncertainty about if there is going to be bans,” said Arn Verntrea, a licensed gun carrier. He has gone to these trade shows for decades and as a side business, he sharpens knives at the shows. Verntrea is hurt over what happened at Sandy Hook, but says getting rid of weapons is not the answer.
“Laws are not to be made out of knee jerk reactions from your emotions, this is serious business that we are dealing with. This is a God-given right,” said Verntrea.
Congressman Steve Cohen says, no one is trying to take away that constitutional right.
“I don’t think that there is any way in the world a law will pass that will take away the right to purchase a pistol or a rifle,” said Cohen.
Just in the past two years we’ve seen dozens killed in schools, cinemas and shopping centers at the hands of someone who pulled the trigger on an assault gun.
The Congressman agrees with President Barack Obama; assault weapons should be banned like they were from 1994 to 2004. He believes there are limits to all freedoms.
“Not assault weapons, not magazines that are only there for massive death,” said Cohen.
But Verntrea points out, the assault weapon ban didn’t stop Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold from walking into Columbine High School and murdering nearly a dozen classmates and a teacher before killing themselves in 1999. He says the government shouldn’t focus on passing new laws, just enforce what’s already on the books.
“Criminals do not care about the laws. You have to punish the criminal and not the law-abiding citizens,” said Verntrea.
“Before they pulled the trigger, they were law-abiding citizens. The Lanza child was not a criminal, the Colorado movie guy was not a criminal,” said Cohen.
It’s a debate that will continue for months as the President pushes his newly formed gun violence task force ahead.