Gun control divisive topic even for those with weapons

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 12:46 AM EDT
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As Congress works to find a bipartisan way to approach current gun legislation, the talk of change is a divisive topic even for those closely tied to weapons, including stores like the Palm Beach Shooting Center.

Survivors of recent mass shootings shared their stories Wednesday during a House Committee hearing.

"I believe in the Second Amendment, and I think that people need to protect yourself and the people that you love, but I don't think you need to use big firearms," said John Palacios, a self-defense attorney with U.S. Law Shield.

Palacios represents people who have fired a weapon in self-defense and said 90% of his cases involve smaller handguns.

He is in favor or restricting sales of guns like AR-15s.

"We cannot argue that AR's and things like that are hunting tools," said Brandon Rizzo, a firearms instructor who disagrees with Palacios on restrictions. "When it comes down to what they're talking about in Congress, if there is a real lean towards, 'We're going to put more regulations on this.' It's like anything else. There's going to be a mass run to get things before it gets strict."

At Palm Beach Shooting Center, manager Ruben Nieves has seen a steady flow of gun sales in recent weeks.

"Daily, you know, three to five maybe," said Nieves. "So take that into a week maybe 30 guns a week."

Store personnel said they follow all rules on gun sales and want more focus on mental health.

"There is a line that can be crossed and where is that line in the sand," said Nieves. "When is one person crazy compared to the next?"

The store offers safety courses and other educational resources.

"It's a great responsibility," said Nieves. "You know, once you do have one, you take on that chance of having to use it."

Nieves said they'd like to see mental health resources prioritized and have them be required, along with training.

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