MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – After shootings making headlines around the country, President Joe Biden announced a series of executive actions aimed at gun control laws.
Mid-City Pawn and Guns in Decatur has 5 to 10 first-time gun buyers coming through their doors each day.
Shop manager Howard Godbee said many buyers are using money from stimulus checks.
“Their ability to buy a firearm in the future might not be there, and instead of using that stimulus check for buying things they ought to be doing, they’re buying fire arms with it,” he said.
Godbee said their sales of guns such as the AR-15 and handguns have really skyrocketed since the new administration came into office.
“What used to be probably a 30% or 20% of your business is 75% of your business,” he said.
He said people want those guns for a couple of reasons, one being these guns could become targets for larger gun control. More commonly, Godbee said, those guns are two used for recreational target shooting and self-protection.
Sales of guns in general increase whenever the topic of gun control comes up in Washington, especially from the White House.
“It’s a rock and hard place for them because of all this violence going on. At the same time they’re infringing on the 2nd Amendment and people don’t want to stand for it,” Godbee said.
Godbee said restricting gun rights for all is not the right plan, but tighter restrictions in some areas could be a good idea.
For instance, when it comes to gun show regulations: dealers are required to do a background check at shows, but person-to-person sales do not require it. Godbee said he thinks the law should require individuals to perform background checks.
President Biden alluded to this in his executive actions speech, but Godbee said he failed to mention dealers were already required to do background checks on potential buyers.
Another topic mentioned by Biden surrounds “Red Flag” laws. These would allow family and law enforcement agencies to request judges temporarily remove a person’s right to buy a gun if they’re thought to be a threat to themselves or others.
Morgan County Sheriff Ron Puckett said this is an idea that could work; however, he supports the 2nd Amendment and said the issue lies more with mental health than gun control.
“I think our gun laws are good. We need to be able to qualify a person to carry a gun. There are people who don’t need to have guns,” Puckett said.
He said the Sheriff’s Office denies pistol permits every day to those who failed one of their background checks.
Godbee agrees that mental health is a larger conversation to be had when it comes to getting guns out of the hands of those who don’t need to have them.
At the end of the day, Godbee said a bad person will get their hands on a gun if that is their goal, most likely illegally.
Godbee said even if someone did pass a background check when buying a gun, if he thinks they could be a danger, he will not sell them a gun.
“Whether they can pass a background check or not, I have refused to sell a weapon, several times, to somebody I felt wasn’t in full faculties but they have passed a background check,” Godbee said.