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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
President Barack Obama is rolling out a sweeping package to address gun violence. He unveiled 23 separate executive actions aimed at targeting gun violence in America.
It includes new gun laws that would require action from Congress as well as steps the president is taking on his own.
The owner of a metro gun shop said banning the weapons he sells probably won't do much to stop gun violence.
"We sell guns here to make it a level playing field for people who want to protect themselves. We sell to law-abiding citizens who want to protect themselves against that criminal who stole a gun," Chris Coad, owner of UT Arms, said. "These guns are already out there. A criminal steals those guns, they don't come in here to buy weapons."
Coad watched carefully as Obama and Vice President Joe Biden addressed the nation, and presented recommendations for curbing gun violence. Coad said he disagrees with most of the president's plans.
"At the end of the day, I don't know what the answer is," he said. "A gun ban is not the answer, it's not solved that way."
But Coad said an assault weapons ban, like the one proposed by the president, isn't the cure-all for America's gun violence problem.
"Banning guns is not the answer. There are millions of firearms out there. If a criminal wants a gun, he'll get one," he said.
He said the assault weapons ban in 1994 is proof it won't work.
"This would fall under the '94 ban. Well, the manufacturer just went and changed a few things, they adapted these weapons to be post-ban weapons," Coad said.
While he doesn't agree with a lot of what the president proposed, Coad said he does agree with Obama's recommendation of universal background checks.
"I don't see why there shouldn't be the same standard passed on to an individual selling to another individual," he said.
The idea being to put an end to people skirting background check requirements at gun shows.
"It is keeping a felon from going out and purchasing a firearm," Coad said.
While it's been a month since the shooting in Newtown, CT, in the Independence School District, it's been a month of positive conversation about how to keep students safe.
"I think it's very important that the president did talk about not only school safety, but also the mental health component. Those are both discussions that need to happen," Independence School District Superintendent Jim Hinson said.
Hinson said he believes Independence, MO, schools are safe, but there's always more that can be done.
"We are continually evaluating what we are doing with safety and security. We have very elaborate plans," he said.
One of Obama's 27 directives he outlined Wednesday involves helping school districts with funding for school resource officers, councilors and emergency preparedness.
"It's too early for us to tell will there be any impact or significance of the president's announcement today on us," Hinson said.
Hinson also said the school resource officers are not in the school to serve as an armed guard at the door, and they often become key faculty members at schools and interact with students.
The Shawnee Mission School District also released a statement following the president's address.
"Addressing issues of safety within our communities, including school safety, will require a collaborative effort of school personnel, parents, emergency response partners, and community members. The tragedy in Connecticut has prompted much interest and concern regarding the safety of schools nationally.
"School safety is a top priority for our school district and has been for many years. Our schools have emergency plans in place that are practiced regularly and we are fortunate to have school resource officers and campus police officers in our secondary schools. In the past month, we have taken the opportunity to review our building and district safety plans and initiatives internally and with our area public safety partners.
"President Obama's emphasis on providing security and counseling support at schools lends support to the conversations that are occurring locally, but it is yet to be determined how the President's Comprehensive School Safety Program would be implemented and the impact it would have on schools in Shawnee Mission. We are encouraged by the heightened interest and discussion surrounding this critical issue of school safety. In order to implement additional measures of security or to make changes in existing facilities or staffing to support safety, funding support and access to other key resources is imperative."
The president's proposals are just that at this point. An assault weapons ban would have to pass through Congress first and many local legislators have already released statements saying they will not vote for a ban.
U.S. Senator for Kansas Pat Roberts released the following statement Wednesday:
"I am disheartened by the White House Gun Violence task force's recommendations, which primarily focus on gun control and missed the opportunity to provide bold proposals that would address the root of these tragedies: mental illness," Roberts said.
"I will fight proposals in the Senate that threaten our 2nd Amendment rights and fail to take real action to curb a culture of gun violence in America. I fully support enforcing the gun laws currently on the books instead of creating new ones that erode basic rights of self-protection. It has been statistically proven that passing gun legislation has no effect on removing guns from the hands of criminals. In the end, it is law-abiding citizens who are punished by gun control.
"Out of the 23 executive actions the President announced today, only a few addressed the mentally ill, a largely taboo and marginalized segment of our society. With the emphasis mostly on gun control, the President avoided serious measures to tackle the increasingly violent culture in America."
Missouri's 4th Congressional District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler said in a statement that the president's proposal doesn't allow law-abiding citizens to protect their families.
"The Newtown massacre was a horrifically violent act, but rash gun control legislation will not keep our children safer. Many of the President's proposals simply act to restrict the ability of law abiding citizens to protect their families. Proposals that focus on enforcing our current laws, requiring federal agencies to provide information on criminals to the FBI's background check database, and giving states the necessary flexibility to protect our children have merit. Additionally, we must have a meaningful conversation about mental health issues and other societal contributors to violent behavior rather than simplistically attacking the tool used by criminals."
Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins also released a statement following the president's announcement.
"I share the President's goal of preventing criminals and individuals with mental illness from acquiring firearms. So, ideas that deal with improving criminal databases, instant background check systems, and mental health resources are areas I am interested in reviewing. Unfortunately, his legislative proposals to ban firearms and prohibit private sales will result in little more than reducing the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, and are ideas I cannot support."
U.S. Senator for Missouri Roy Blunt also released a statement after hearing Obama's stricter gun control policies.
"As the father of a young son and the grandfather to six young children, I was outraged and saddened by the Sandy Hook shooting. Unfortunately, the president's proposals today fundamentally fail to address ways that we can prevent tragic events like Sandy Hook, and instead, he's attempting to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
"We need to have a serious national discussion about preventing senseless acts of violence and protecting our children in their schools, and that should include finding ways to spend federal dollars more wisely when it comes to treating and identifying people who are mentally ill, and ensuring that we intervene before they do something that tragically impacts their lives and the lives of others."
Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II also spoke out after Wednesday's announcement.
"Congress must now step up, work together, and use common sense. While those in Washington continue talking – I am focused on listening to my constituents here at home. I, like most Americans, believe in universal background checks. I support a ban on military assault rifles and a limit on high-capacity magazines. These weapons of war are meant to kill."
"I support the Second Amendment and the rights of individuals to bear arms. I also support the rights of children to go safely to school, the movie theater, and the local mall."
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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