Gun control is divisive, even for those with guns

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As Congress struggles to find a bipartisan way to approach current gun legislation, the talk of change is divisive, even for those closely tied to guns , including stores like Palm Beach Shooting Center.

On Wednesday, survivors of the recent mass shootings shared their stories during a House committee hearing on Wednesday.

“I believe in the Second Amendment, and I think people should protect themselves and the people they love, but I don’t think you need to use big guns,” said attorney John Palacios. of self-defense to the US Law Shield.

Palacios represents people who have fired a gun in self-defense and says 90% of his cases involve smaller handguns.

Palacios favors or restricts sales of weapons like AR-15s.

“We can’t say that ARs and things like that are hunting tools,” said Brandon Rizzo, a firearms instructor who disagrees with Palacios on the restrictions. “As far as what they’re talking about in Congress, if there’s a real leaning towards ‘we’re going to put more regulations on this.’ It’s going to be like anything else; there’s going to be a mass race to get things before it gets strict.”

At the Palm Beach Shooting Center, director Ruben Nieves has seen a steady stream of gun sales in recent weeks.

“Everyday 3-5 maybe. So take that in a week, maybe 30 guns a week”,

Store staff say they follow all rules when it comes to selling guns and want to focus more on mental health.

“There is a line that can be crossed and where is that line in the sand, when is one person crazy compared to the other?” Nieves said.

The store offers safety courses and other educational resources, and the staff will accommodate whatever Congress decides.

“It’s a big responsibility. Once you have one, you take the chance of having to use it,” Nieves said.

Nieves says they would like to see mental health resources prioritized and require them to have them with training.

Jessica C. Bell