Gun Owners Have Mixed Feelings About Bill

Sunday, May 31st 2009, 6:14 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Gun owners are speaking out about a controversial new bill recently introduced in Congress.

The Blair Holt Act would prohibit unlicensed gun ownership, meaning customers couldn't purchase firearms at gun shows without a state license.

The act could drop a bombshell on exhibits like RK's Gun Show, a Tulsa tradition for almost two decades.

"We don't need anything like that," gun exhibitor Randy James said. "I don't think it's constitutional."

James says sales hit a fever pitch after President Barack Obama's election half a year ago. But sales have slowed considerably, and the bill would hurt business.

James says he should be able to sell freely at exhibitions.

"It's just a bad idea, period," he said. "This is America, and I don't think we need anything like that."

But not everybody thinks the concept is a bad idea. Melissa Childress recently finished up a concealed-carry class. She is licensed and says it's a good idea to know who's buying the guns.

"If you're in it for the right reasons, if you have a pistol for the right reason, then you don't have a problem with having a license," Childress said. "You don't have a problem having a background check. And I would be comfortable with that."

Exhibitors are worried about interference in the right to bear arms, an individual right upheld by the Supreme Court one year ago.

"We like to be able to protect ourselves," gun owner Angela Hancock said. "You never know what's going to happen."

It's a loaded issue, and the bill takes dead aim at what gun shows are all about.

The Blair Holt Act was introduced in Congress earlier this year by the Chicago representative. If it makes it out of the subcommittee on homeland security, it will be voted on by the House of Representatives.