Kentuckians react to defeat of gun control bills


by Adam Walser

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 7:59 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- President Barack Obama called it a shameful day when members of the U.S. Senate failed to pass a gun control measure that would have expanded background checks.

But local gun enthusiasts say it was a good day for the preservation of the U.S. Constitution.

Kentucky is gun country, with more background checks performed here that any other state.

But when it comes to expanding checks to person-to-person sales and banning certain types of weapons, many Kentuckians, like Members of Congress, say "no."

In the wake of tragedies in Colorado and Connecticut, President Obama called on Congress to pass new restrictions on guns.

But Wednesday, votes on expanded background checks and bans on certain assault weapons came up short.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said the president was using family members of recent tragedies as "props."

Senator Mitch McConnell also led the efforts against the bills.

“There were no coherent arguments for why we didn't do this,” President Obama said. “It came down to politics…the worry that the vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections.”

At the Open Range gun store and range in Crestwood, gun enthusiasts applauded lawmakers, saying they were operating from reason rather than emotion.

“Sure there's a couple of nut cases, but the last time I checked, America was about freedom, not about control,” Open Range owner Barry Laws said.

Laws believes expanded background checks wouldn't have prevented the most recent tragedies.
He also thinks too many controls were included  in the proposed legislation, which would have affected the many responsible gun owners who frequent his range.

“In six years, I've been surrounded by multiple tens of thousands of people with guns, loaded guns, walking into my building and nothing's happened. These are good people,” he said.

Laws says most gun owners are like Linda Wainscott, who owns a gun for self defense.

She also fears the President and some Members of Congress want to take away guns.

“I think that's what they're trying for. I don't think they'll get it. I think the NRA has too much pull in both political parties for that the happen,” she said.

President Obama referred indirectly to comments made by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul when scolding Congress.

The President and Vice President Joe Biden both vowed to revisit the gun control issue.