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Guns in America: Gun shop owner talks reform efforts

Openrange Owner Barry Laws said his gun store has experienced panic buying after tragedies in the past, however, so far it has been business as usual.

CRESTWOOD, Ky. — As lawmakers continue to debate gun control legislation, one Kentucky gun shop says they haven't seen an increased demand for or an increase in gun sales.

"Right now, it seems as though everyone's gotten their panic buying out of the way," Barry Laws, owner of Openrange Gun Range, said. "They're just kind of waiting, [that's] the feeling right now."

Laws said in the past, his gun store experienced bouts of panic buying amidst presidential elections, mass tragedies and other national events. However, in the wake of the tragedies that took place last month in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX, he said it's business as usual.

According to data from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System this might not just be true for Openrange but across the U.S. 

The system estimates the number of background checks carried out for weapon sales month-by-month, and looking at data from 2022 so far, May has seen the least amount of background checks facilitated. 

Laws said he was surprised by this, adding that in years past whenever pushes for gun control come from Congress, demand at his shop skyrocketed.

"It turns into locusts coming in and chewing up everything, and there's nothing left," he said.

The surprise comes after the U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday 223-204 to pass a wide-ranging package of gun control legislation called the "Protecting Our Kids Act."  

The legislation includes a series of individual bills aimed at gun violence prevention: the measure would raise the legal age to buy certain semiautomatic centerfire rifles from 18 to 21 years old and allow local governments to compensate individuals who surrender such magazines through a buy-back program.

Those measures garnered some bipartisan support in the House as five Republicans voted for the bill including Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Fred Upton of Michigan and Chris Jacobs of New York. 

Still, Laws said the bill would be ineffective in his opinion.

"It isn't a youth thing, it's a culture [thing]," Laws said. "So we've got to figure out what the culture problem is. Otherwise, you're band-aiding it, kicking the can down the road."

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