WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) — Police report the gun Omar Mateen used to murder 49 people and injure 53 others was an “AR-15 style gun.”
It has some people talking about the damage these guns can do.
“There are 49 people dead, 53 wounded — and one shooter,” said Brian Higgins (D) the congressman representing the 26th district. The democratic congressman says he’s supporting banning AR-15 style rifles.
“They’re not manufactured; they’re not sold or marketed for hunting or gaming,” starts the congressman. “They’re made for one purpose and that’s to kill people and kill people — a lot of people, quickly.”
Pro-gun folks disagree with that.
“They’re for sport,” says Michael Deasy, the owner at the Niagara Gun Range. “People look at it as a weapon but it’s a sport.”
Deasy says these guns are semi-automatic and get a bad reputation for being more powerful than they actually are.
“One pull of the trigger produces one shot no matter how long you hold the trigger,” said Deasy.
He feels there should be some restrictions on the types of firearms people can own – like full automatic and destructive weapons like missiles.
“But sporting rifles — there shouldn’t be a reason there’s a ban,” said Deasy. “They’re there to protect us the citizens against all enemies — foreign and domestic.”
The conversation about banning these types of gun is coming up again after the mass shooting in Orlando. Congressman Higgins says he’s in support of tightening up laws which allow people to purchase guns.
“It’s commonsensical,” said the congressman. “Why would you want to allow someone who has demonstrated activity in their past that is terror related to be able to purchase legally a gun in America?”
The range owner feels a great responsibility being a gun dealer saying he has turned away buyers if they appear under the influence of drugs or alcohol or are speaking about causing great harm. But he says no additional laws could have prevented what happened in Orlando from taking place.
“You can’t pass a law that’ll protect someone from doing something if their mind is set on doing it.”
A gun training instructor says it seems people are looking at how they can protect themselves if these types of situations would ever happen closer to home — that’s as gun stocks surge. Major manufacturer, Smith and Wesson, experiences a 7% increase the day after the mass shooting.
The training instructor says their business is up around 800% in the 48 hours following the shooting.
“This is a trend you see quite often,” said James Emmick, the owner at Firearms Training WNY. “Anytime there’s an incident where people think ‘What would I do in this situation? How would I protect myself; protect my loved ones and family?’ we see a huge increase. Tragedy spikes our business. It’s a very double edged sword for us.”
Emmick says as the conversation about gun control continues and the election nears, he expects business to continue increasing.