The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

February 11, 2013

Steady stream of traffic at gun and knife show

Gun enthusiasts: Both sides of gun debate need to listen

OTTUMWA — Among the items for sale at the Gun and Knife Show at Bridge View Center in Ottumwa were ear plugs, which every responsible target shooter knows are important for hearing protection. 

But when it comes to discussing the balance between public safety and maintaining our rights as citizens, several firearms enthusiasts said both sides need to pull the cotton out of their ears.

“I don’t care if you’re Democrat, Republican, independent or Martian, you do not always have the best idea,” said David Tubbs of Centerville

When there’s a tragedy, politicians may feel the need to jump up and say, “I’ll protect you! But we must do it my way.”

“They get tunnel vision,” said Tubbs, a vendor at the show from A.C. sales out of Centerville “They [each have decided] on one direction only.”

That’s when extreme ideas, like banning guns — or making everyone obligated to carry a gun — start popping up.

To a law-abiding Iowa citizen who believes in the Second Amendment, Tubbs said, elected officials and future politicians seem to be more worried about how they look before an election than how they can develop an answer that works for America.

Just don’t try to strip Americans of their rights, like the right to bear arms, said  Preston Hawkins, a Missouri native currently attending college in Ottumwa, especially under the  pretense of protecting the public.

Because the Second Amendment exists, in part, to protect the public from having their rights stripped away.

Tubbs said no matter who has a solution that allows citizens to maintain their rights while protecting the public from danger, our politicians need to listen.

“Right now, Congress couldn’t agree on lunch,” called out another vendor who agreed with Tubbs.

It’s a shame that if a politician Tubbs respects has a really good idea, he said, the opposite party doesn’t want to listen — because it came from the wrong side of the aisle.

It’s not just one party being stubborn, either, he added.

“If one side has an idea, the other side says it must be bad.  We’re never going to get anything solved that way.”

So what about some of the ideas that seem to have a few supporters, at least, on both sides of the issue: Would background checks be too intrusive?

“Not if you don’t have anything to hide,” said Chris Sharp, a vendor at the show sitting with some family members.

She said she, like most of the people who were at Bridge View Center Saturday, are supporters of responsible, lawful gun ownership.

“There’s nothing wrong with guns,” said Sharp. 

Nor, she continued, is there anything wrong with a stable, law-abiding citizen who owns a gun.  She has a family with nephews and grandchildren in their 20s who own firearms safely and responsibly. And they are the types of kids who would notice a fire at a neighbor’s place and rush over to help put it out.  These are good kids, she said. But there are other kinds of people, too.

“A gun isn’t good or bad on [its own], it’s the person pulling the trigger,” she said.

There are people in this country who shouldn’t go armed. Which is why responsible gun owners know they need to maintain control of their firearms, Sharp said. In her household, firearms are locked safely away. Children are not allowed to handle weapons until they’re old enough to learn to do so responsibly.

“Our kids never even saw those guns,” she said.

She said she was saddened by the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and meant no disrespect, but that young man in Connecticut had his own issues that should have been taken into consideration. Why did he even have access to guns?

She and another vendor said the mental health system in this country is a mess and those who presently have mental health issues that make them a danger to themselves or others should not be given access to firearms. And those with felonious tendencies also need to be barred from gun ownership or access to firearms.

“If they wanted to check my background, I’d tell them to go right ahead; I’ve got nothing to hide. If you do have something to hide, maybe you shouldn’t [be carrying] a gun,” she said.

Even if background checks on criminality or mental stability aren’t the perfect answer, at least we can hear each other out, said Tubbs.  Elected officials are not setting a good example of that right now.

At one booth was, perhaps, a type of friendly reminder: Despite the serious national debates about guns, outdoorsmanship and shooting sports can be fun.

The Zombie Tactical Store is owned by Robin Slaughter, who has been visiting shows surrounding her native northeast Missouri for two years. Her T-shirts and other items have various gun-related slogans ranging from symbolic to funny.

Though Slaughter and a cousin working the booth had positive, friendly attitudes — her cousin says you can’t spell Slaughter without laughter — she becomes serious when talking about people’s rights.

“I’d like to see them do something that works, something that incorporates checks and balances.”

She has been seeing the people who are least educated about firearms rushing to throw together some hastily thought-up new laws.

“I wish they’d do some research, not try to just come up with a quick answer in a couple of months,” Slaughter said.

The mainstream media isn’t helping educate the public, she said. They’re scaring people unnecessarily and attracting an audience by showing the most dangerous-looking firearms.

“Do you see which guns they show in the media?”

It’s more specific than just semi-automatic weapons. It’s the ones that actually look like assault rifles or other military ordinance.

She said no one seems to be complaining about the traditional, burnished walnut weapons that, compared to assault rifles, shoot the same caliber round, fire just as quickly and have multi-round magazines.

Both types of rifles were being sold at the Ottumwa show.

Of course, she said, the media knows the “regular” looking guns don’t draw higher ratings, she said.

“It’s cosmetic — and about selling advertising.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0422 Eagle photo On a wing and a prayer

    LAKE RED ROCK — Protective gloves aren’t uncommon when dealing with a sick patient, though they’re not usually heavy, leather welder’s gloves. But, then, the patient usually doesn’t have toenails designed to puncture flesh. Or a sharp beak. Diane Mas

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420 OTT Gothic house easter web-color photo American Gothic House celebrates Easter weekend Kids participate in an egg roll competition Saturday on the American Gothic House lawn in Eldon. Families were invited to come and participate in Easter-themed events and make crafts. They also had the opportunity to dress up and pose in front of the

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0422 OTT Egg hunt color photo -L On a roll this Easter ELDON — If you pulled up to the American Gothic House Center Saturday afternoon at moments before 1 p.m., you probably had to park halfway down the road. Cars filled the parking lot and spilled out onto the street as parents and kids from all over so

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ups and downs OTTUMWA — Iowa's governor and his lieutenant seemed thrilled with part of the employment news Friday. Gov. Terry Branstad's Twitter page said: "BREAKING: Iowa's employment reaches all-time high of 1,615,200." Iowa Workforce Development confirms the n

    April 18, 2014

  • Those who came before OTTUMWA — There is so much information on researching genealogy, beginners may not know where to start. But experts and knowledgeable amateurs will offer help as they gather for a free Family History Fair to share which websites are worthwhile and wh

    April 18, 2014

  • 0419 OTT Tree planting color photo -T -M -L Young Ottumwans show their green thumbs OTTUMWA — Several of Ottumwa’s cemeteries and parks were recipients of new trees this week as Ottumwa High School students and Eagle Scouts dedicated their time to planting dozens of trees around the city. Students from the OHS JROTC class were at Ot

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0419 OTT Prayer Walk 2 bw photo -L -M -T On a journey OTTUMWA — The seven blocks through the center of Ottumwa took more than an hour and a half to walk as 25 people prayed and read Scripture to reflect on the events of Good Friday. Led by the Ottumwa Area Fellowship of Pastors, the walk began at First

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0419 OTT drought map -L -T -M Drought weakens grip on Iowa OTTUMWA — Last weekend saw the first significant rains in quite some time for the Ottumwa area. How long? The last day with at least a half-inch of rain was back on Nov. 20. It was a welcome rain, arriving after the ground had thawed. That allowed at

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eugene Clark STOCKPORT — Eugene Morris Clark, 90, of Stockport, died at 5:30 p.m. April 17, 2014, at Good Samaritan Health and Rehabilitation Center, Ottumwa. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Spencer Cemetery northeast of Stockport; Pastor Richard

    April 18, 2014

  • Civil War Round Table visited by baseball historian OTTUMWA — The Civil War Round Table was treated to a special guest Thursday night and a presentation about how baseball during the Civil War era helped shape Iowa as we know it. John Liepa, former history and political science professor at Des Moines

    April 18, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition