EL CENTRO, Calif. – More than 50,000 people were victims of gun violence in the country last year, according to www.trace.org.
Over 32,000 died by firearm.
Imperial County firearms instructor Donnie Wharton says more training is needed to decrease those numbers.
“I’m a strong supporter of the notion that all U.S. law-abiding citizens have the right to potentially possess, with the proper documentation and the proper training, a firearm,” Wharton said.
Wharton defends the right to gun ownership, “It really gets overlooked when it comes to that second amendment right. It’s the right to self-defense.”
He says more gun laws won’t stop gun violence, but says there is a need to enforce laws we already have.
“Passing additional laws on top of the thousands of laws we already have do not prevent these crimes from happening.”
Wharton says it’s taking the focus away from the real issues, “At the end of the day we’re spending our time, our resources, without fixing the problem, because we’re not focusing on the root cause.”
Environmental and gun activist John Kariotis Jr. agrees gun control laws should be enforced.
“Enforcement is the problem. If anything, mandatory checks have to be increased. A waiting period extended a little bit so you can find out exactly who it is,” Kariotis said.
Kariotis adds gun ownership rights don’t apply to people with criminal records, “They’ve lost that right to own a gun again.”
Karioits says he would like to see more thorough background checks, “I think we really need a psyche evaluation.”
Kariotis says guns should be registered and insured just like a car. “If I hit somebody and kill them, my insurance covers me for the cost of injury, of medical, and all of that. Why don’t we require the same thing for a gun?”
Border Tactical Indoor Range owner Bill Dubois says everyone buying a gun with him goes through a federal background check.
“They have ten days in which to finish the background investigation. If we don’t hear anything negative within ten days then you’re allowed to pick up your firearm.”
Dubois offers a firearm safety training certificate course for all gun buyers.
“There’s also a requirement for a firearm safety certificate,” he said.
He says this applies to online purchases as well, “It’s against the law for you to receive a firearm yourself. In California you must receive a firearm through a licensed dealer.”
It also applies to one-on-one purchases, Dubois explained, “It’s the same way if your buddy down the street or your cousin wants to sell you his old gun. You both have to come to the firearm store with the firearm.”
Dubois says background checks are just common sense, “There’s a fine line between infringing on your second-amendment rights and just doing a background check to make sure you’re okay.”
But he’s strongly against registering one’s personal firearms, “Why does the government need to know what I own? Unless they’re going to come get it someday.”
These three men may differ on some issues, but one point where they both agree is on being a responsible gun owner.
“Now most folks would want to register their firearms with an insurance company, in case they got stolen, or you want to keep your own records of your firearms serial numbers and so forth,” Dubois concluded.