In 2012, there were three mass shootings.
The first was in July in Aurora, Col., during the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” James Holmes opened fire in the theatre and killed 12 people, injuring 58 others. The second came in August in Oak Creek, Wis., at the Sikh Temple. Army veteran Wade Michael Page began firing at worshipers in a temple, killing six and injuring four others. The final and most recent mass shooting was at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Adam Lanza walked into the school and opened fire, killing 26—20 of which were children from five to six years of age.
Following the first shootings, the gun control issue came into question. After the Sandy Hook massacre, it is now one of the top things on Pres. Obama’s to-do list.
According to the White House, Pres. Obama’s plan to cover gun control includes these points: closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands; banning military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines; taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence (AR-15 and other AR accessories); making schools safer like adding more police and security to schools across the United States; and increasing access to mental health services.
These steps are possible and have students scrambling to get their hands on anything they can find for fear of their rights being taken away.
“With everything going on with the president and the executive order, at Lock & Load we have had a ton of people come in for ammo, AR accessories, AR themselves, and rifles,” said Robert Quates, firearms instructor at Lock & Load in Tyler. “People are in fear that guns that they want and that they have the right to own will be taken away and they won’t be able to buy them in the future. So they are trying to buy it now so they can be grandfathered in on any law that is passed.”
However, gun lovers have nothing to worry about for right now. At the moment, Pres. Obama cannot violate the Second Amendment, which gives Americans the right to bear arms.
On Jan. 19, 2013, many East Texans participated in National Gun Appreciation Day to support the Second Amendment at Lock & Load and Harvey Convention Center.
High turn out at both events was expected. The gun show that took place at Harvey Hall had over 4,000 visitors. Lines were backed up to the back of the parking lot, and many gun supporters waited as long as an hour to get into the gun show in order to purchase ammunition and guns, like the AR-15, that are soon to be off the market.
Lock & Load also had a great turnout.
“Gun Appreciation Day went phenomenal. The turnout here, we probably had about 300 people outside. Tons of people came out to support the Second Amendment,” said Quates. He also added that it was a peaceful rally at both events.
Many students as well as faculty agree that adding more laws to gun control will not help the growing problem.
“The president is protected with what? Guns. Congressmen? Guns. Jewelry stores, cops, everybody? Guns. Our children? They’re protected by a sign that says what? ‘This is a gun-free zone’,” said Dee Kelley, assistant cheer coach at Tyler Junior College. “I feel as if we can protect our higher ups and protect our government with guns…we should be able to protect ourselves with a gun. There’s gun control. Regulations on everything. What’s stopping a criminal? You think a criminal is going to listen to gun control? He hasn’t yet.”
Right now, Congress is in discussion on banning some automatic and semi-automatic weapons such as the Colby AR-15 and MAC 10.
“I don’t think we should be opted for what we carry or have on us as far as automatics, semi-automatics or anything like that. If someone comes to my door with an automatic assault rifle, I would want to defend myself with the same thing if needed be,” said Zach Parrish, TJC student.
These recent events have many considering whether or not to get their Concealed Handgun License (CHL).
People wanting to get their CHL must be 21 years old to obtain it, but a student can take the test six months prior to their twenty-first birthday. Lock & Load offers the class.
“You’ll come down here, you’ll reserve your spot in the class and pay the $140 up front. The class is a 10-hour class required by the state of Texas to go over all the state’s rules. You have shooting qualifications test, and you also have a written test,” said Quates.
All classes start around 7:30 a.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. Lock & Load provides lunch at Sweet Sue’s and does all the paperwork and passport photos. All that is required is to apply online for his or her state license and then schedule a fingerprint appointment at Lock & Load.
Right now, Lock & Load is booked up until the end of March, but students can contact Lock & Load at (903)-939-1500, visit them at their location, 3408 SSW Loop 323, or go to their website www.lockandloadtyler.com