The Ottumwa Courier

Breaking News

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
  • Victim advocates: Helping families cope DAVNPORT — Family members of a slain Wapello County woman have someone to lean on — literally and figuratively — while they sit through a murder trial for the third time. Seth Techel, 23, is on trial in Scott County, Davenport. He faces charges of fi

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT Five Things logo -L -T Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — There's a wide variety of activities to choose from this weekend in southeast Iowa. Get out and explore the countryside, find some new books to curl up with or help raise money for some great causes. The choice is yours — pick one or attend

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Jury begins deliberations DAVENPORT — The fate of a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife is in the hands of a jury in Scott County, which began deliberations Wednesday and will continue deliberating today.The jury began deliberations about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the ca

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Van Buren says bye-bye to Waste Management KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management has been charging the Van Buren Community School District an average of nearly $1,600 a month to remove waste and recycled materials from the Douds and Keosauqua centers. Now faced with a bidding process, Waste Management

    July 23, 2014

  • Prosecution: All evidence points to Techel as killer DAVENPORT — Just as all roads lead to Rome, so all evidence points to a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife, according to the prosecution. Assistant Attorney General Andrew Prosser, who is prosecuting the case for the third time, said defe

    July 23, 2014

  • Pesticide use is not all bad OTTUMWA — When you pick up a grocery ad, it seems like every other page has a produce item stamped USDA Organic, meaning that those items were spared from chemicals including Glyphosate, the most common pesticide in the world. As the Organic Food Mov

    July 23, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Kitchen Science color photo -L -T Kitchen science sparks curiosity OTTUMWA — A lucky group of children spent Wednesday morning experimenting with kitchen science and creating geysers of foam at the Knights of Columbus hall. The Kitchen Science performance was presented by Waterloo's Grout Museum and is part of the O

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Making something of themselves OTTUMWA — Community leaders this week heard how Ottumwa's Job Corps started from nothing yet became successful. But they also heard from students who said they were doing nothing until they found success through Job Corps. "After I dropped out of hig

    July 23, 2014

  • New charges filed in abuse case OTTUMWA — A single charge against a man for sexual abuse has been replaced by a new trial information, and authorities are throwing the book at him. Grant Troxel was initially charged in early June with sexual abuse. But the new list of charges indic

    July 23, 2014

  • 0724 OTT car investigation color photo -L Tip led to Tuesday arrest OTTUMWA — There was more to the incident Tuesday in which officers surrounded a car near U.S. Bank in downtown Ottumwa than just a routine traffic stop. Police Chief Tom McAndrew said Jason Tobek, 36, is in custody and faces charges of interference w

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook