At Dallas gun show, there’s little to like about Obama order

Published in The Dallas Morning News on Jan. 9, 2016

Few issues stir people up as much these days as the argument over guns and gun rights.

But inside Dallas Market Center on Saturday, there was wide agreement on one thing: President Barack Obama’s new executive order calling for tighter restrictions on buying and selling guns is a non-starter.

That should come as little surprise since the center was home to this weekend’s Dallas Gun and Knife Show, a massive event centered on the very thing the president wants to further regulate.

But even at a gun show, people have strongly different views on just how much freedom Americans should have with guns.

Fort Worth resident Greg Hoffmann, 44, said he doesn’t like the vagueness of the executive order, particularly on increasing the reporting of mental health issues.

“We can all agree that anyone who has been deemed incompetent to own a firearm shouldn’t be allowed to, but that law is already in place,” he said. “My concern is how far he can go with it. Does that mean no one who is on an [antidepressant] can own a firearm?”

The proposed executive action could also come in conflict with Texas’ new open carry law.

On Friday, USA Today reported that visitors to one of Texas’ 10 state mental health hospitals will be allowed to openly carry weapons into the facilities but employees and patients will still be barred from bringing weapons. Texas law bans state agencies from posting signs telling people they cannot carry guns on property.

McKinney resident Philip Weber, 35, attended the gun show in Revolutionary War attire and was quick to take verbal shots at Obama.

“The president does not have the authority to give an executive order when it infringes on the Bill of Rights,” he said. “Our great governor is trying to implement measures to reduce the federal government’s powers.”

Weatherford resident Gerry Walton, 65, thinks more should be done to prevent gun violence, but he said the problem isn’t with background checks.

“Most weapons used in mass shootings are assault weapons purchased legally with background checks,” he said. “Assault weapons are not needed at all and should be banned.”

Walton also said the executive order isn’t a smart move for the Democratic Party.

It “will hurt Hillary Clinton’s chance for the presidency because pro-Second Amendment Democrats will just not vote, vote Republican or vote for Bernie Sanders,” he said.

Walton said the executive order will hurt rural citizens’ “pursuit of entertainment.”

“In the country, all there is to do is hunt and fish, but people get tired of owning the same guns,” he said.

Whitesboro resident Robert William Crowsey brought a weapon to sell at the gun show.

“Some people are just selling a gun occasionally, like me, to improve on their collection,” he said. “Now I have to go through the federal government and pay an extra charge to get an ATF license to sell a gun.”

Jimmy Brooks, 54, disagreed with Walton’s point that assault weapons should be banned.

“It wouldn’t take long before you wouldn’t be allowed to sell any weapons,” he said. “A knife or a BB gun can be called an assault weapon if they’re used to assault someone.”

Brad Yates, 30, said it was his first time attending a gun show. He hoped to sell his grandfather’s World War II rifle and expand his views on gun control laws. But the event left him feeling more ambivalent.

“Now I can better understand both sides of the aisle as to why some parties would want to make new gun restriction laws and why not imposing gun restrictions is vital for the livelihood of some of these gun dealers,” he said.

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