South Dakota gun advocates don’t agree with President Barack Obama’s proposed gun regulation changes. The line of shooters gathered Wednesday night at the Garretson Sportsmen’s Club is more in sync with the NRA than the President’s plan.
They say many of Wednesday's proposed changes have been unsuccessfully tried before. And believe the President's executive orders won't solve the issue. To gun advocates, tightening regulations for those who follow the law is not the issue; it's keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.
“People hear a lot about the issue but they don't listen. They need to take what people say, process it. Think about it critically,” Erika Arens said
Arens is among the youngest shooters. She's also the only woman. She knows feelings are strong on both sides of the issue. These gun advocates feel like they’re the ones stuck in the crosshairs of a political debate, and they want people to know why they oppose the plan.
“We're hunters, fishers. We shoot targets for fun. We shoot clay pistols. They don't have to be a violent thing,” Arens said.
“Make the laws that we've got worthwhile. Enforce what laws we've got,” Crooks Gun Club President Terry Steenholdt said.
Steenholdt believes more needs to be done to keep weapons away from people with mental health issues. That's one of the President's goals too. But he stops short on agreeing with proposed reforms.
“The more you take the guns away from the smart people, the safe people, the good people, the more outnumbered you are against the bad people,” Steenholdt said.
“Yeah they are dangerous,” Arens said, “But on the other side, you know if you're going to own something dangers you have to be responsible for it.”
The proposals don't mandate all guns go away. But to gun owners say losing any leverage clips their freedom.
“Nationwide it won't go through. I'm a betting man and they won't get the gun laws. They won't get the guns. They're going to get very little accomplished,” Steenholdt said.