POSTED: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 11:23pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 11:26pm
El Paso, TX — President Obama today announced a new task force to develop ideas to reduce gun violence by no later than next month.
Vice President Biden will oversee the recommendations, as President Obama said the time has come for action, not just discussion on gun violence.
Just five days after the Newtown Elementary School shootings, the President said some gun restrictions, improved mental health services and violence in popular culture would all be part of the effort to reduce mass shootings.
He expressed support for some gun measures including banning military-style assault weapons and expanding criminal background checks to include gun shows.
“But the fact that this problem is complex, can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. the fact that we can't prevent every act of violence, doesn't mean that we can't steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence," said Obama.
The President also said responsible gun owners would be among those who want to keep the law-breaking few from buying what he terms a "weapon of war."
Today News Channel Nine spoke with Michael Perkins one of the owners of local gun shop Sportsman's Elite, about his reaction to President Obama's plans.
"A criminal doesn't follow laws and so you can write as many laws as you want and if they choose to break the law, they'll find a way to do it. Banning assault rifles, they've done that before and it didn't do anything. That's why they let it expire,” said Perkins.
He does agree though that a loophole exists at gun shows.. People who buy guns there do not have to go through background checks.
Richard Nixon is a gun owner and was browsing today. He says guns are not the problem.
“It seems like a knee-jerk reaction,” said Nixon.
And in light of the recent Connecticut tragedy, he says banning firearms is not the answer.
"If the teachers or principal had been armed, very possibly you know the principal that died was as heroic as could be. She just didn't have the equipment to defend the students with,” said Nixon.
Perkins says the issue is the stigma surrounding guns.
"They're not horrible things, they're used for many different purposes and education and proper gun ownership is what we're all about," said Perkins.
Both men say education is the key.
"Its the individual, not the gun as far as I'm concerned,” said Nixon.
He says safety tips for gun owners should never be overlooked.
"Understand what you have. Know how the gun operates. Know how to work the gun and probably the most important thing is to lock it up," said Perkins.
We did try to get reaction from people for complete gun legislation but no one was willing to comment.
Sportsman's Elite will be opening the first ever indoor shooting range in El Paso in January.