Local gun owners: Mental health reform, not gun control, will stop shootings

2013-01-17T00:00:00Z Local gun owners: Mental health reform, not gun control, will stop shootingsBy Mary Juhl | mary.juhl@winonadailynews.com Winona Daily News

Employees and customers at Mainstream Firearms and Marine in Winona said Wednesday that President Barack Obama missed the target with his proposed gun control reforms.

Obama called on Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and signed 23 executive orders to strengthen background checks and research gun violence, among other measures.

Mainstream’s owner, Jeff Stingl, said lawmakers should focus on addressing mental health issues rather than placing restrictions on gun owners.

“We have a mental health issue in this country,” Stingl said. “You’re blaming an inanimate object for what happened,” he added.

Winona Sportsmen’s Club board member Kevin Kotlarz, who was at Mainstream on Wednesday, said he doesn’t think the proposed reforms will prevent mass shootings, and that such violence results from untreated mental illnesses.

Kotlarz said banning military-style assault weapons would limit the activities of the club’s members, and that some of the proposed reforms just don’t make sense.

“If you’re experienced, you can change a magazine in two seconds, so a (limit of a) 10-round magazine isn’t going to do any good,” Kotlarz said.

Kotlarz, a marksmanship instructor, said one way to curb gun violence is to educate young people about the use and abuse of firearms.

“The answer to people using firearms irresponsibly is to teach them to use them responsibly,” he said.

Stingl, who has worked in the firearms industry for 25 years, said background checks are already thorough enough, and placing more requirements on gun owners would waste taxpayer dollars.

“There’s not an easy answer, but I don’t think an executive order is something we need to see,” Stingl said.

Copyright 2015 Winona Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. Prussian
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    Prussian - January 20, 2013 9:35 am
    WDNS ... I lived in Georgia for fourteen years and was there when Kennesaw had a high crime rate. There are three interstate exits that run through the city and a rather large shopping center between the fork in the interstates. When the gun ordinance was passed, there was a lot of contention from the public. However, the results speak for themselves. Who wants to break in to a home or business when the people inside or more than likely armed? And to the worriers, the accidental shootings in the county are one of the lowest in the country (as of 2009). You can not legislate for "stupid", but you have to get past the disinformation campaign.
    Guns are a tool, nothing more. Just like this administration wanted to raise taxes on the rich, but not close the loopholes of the tax code, or make health care "affordable" (big joke on us) - it wants to remove your guns. They are not solving ANY root causes of our country's real problems, they are only moving on their agendas
  2. CatfishCurly
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    CatfishCurly - January 19, 2013 1:56 am
    That's using common sense. You are obviously not a politician. I just hope everyone gets out and votes the bums out that want to stomp all over our constitution.
  3. cjtjolson
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    cjtjolson - January 18, 2013 2:11 pm
    Hopefully this thread will reach the people that want to "ban" certain types of guns. Hopefully they will realize that more laws will not stop people from breaking them. If a law against any type of gun would work, why not just make it illegal to kill people...? Then we can stop people from being stabbed or beaten to death also.
  4. Emil
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    Emil - January 17, 2013 2:33 pm
    I don't think it is notoriety. At least not the folks I worked with.
  5. killallthelawyersfirst
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    killallthelawyersfirst - January 17, 2013 1:22 pm
    Mr. WDNS, I did look it up. Like Switzerland, near zero crime. Should send to Obama.
    Counter intuitive works. Appreciate link.
  6. WDNS
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    WDNS - January 17, 2013 11:58 am
    If this country can get people with mental illness the help and meds they need you will see crime all cross the board drop. It's time to take care of our own and not the rest of the world. The cost of meds and doctors is out of control in this country and that is why a lot of people don't get the help they need. Disarming the law abiding persons will make everyone more vulnerable to crime. If you don't agree with that take a look at the crime rate in Kennesaw Georgia. In that city gun ownership is mandatory. The law isn't enforced but that didn't mean criminals didn't take note. Look it up you will be surprised.
  7. SharonR67
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    SharonR67 - January 17, 2013 11:03 am
    I completely agree with you Hive...I know Jeff and he and Catfish make sense....and use it =)
  8. killallthelawyersfirst
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    killallthelawyersfirst - January 17, 2013 11:00 am
    Mr. Trueimgage, I think what you imply is true, but using drunk drivers statistics as a comparison might not be the best. Have drink drivers really declined? Are the statistics off by the number of "alcohol related" check-offs on police reports, when alcohol was not a factor? Much questionable data being used by outfits like MADD and law enforcement. Not that they are twisting the information, it is just the way it is, poor record keeping. As noted below, no one, save a guard, fence or similar will stop lunatics from making mayhem. Theaters, malls, train stops, churches etc are all open to attack and likely will always be so, save guns in the crowd no one knows about. There has to be much anguish in Newtown about lack of prevention.
  9. trueimage
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    trueimage - January 17, 2013 8:34 am
    Mental health issue has to be the largest cut of the pie. Being mentally ill, having a mental condition then deciding on ones self to stop taking your medicine then acting out breaking the law is not acceptable anymore. Theres enough of these people who get a pass being high on drugs, mixing prescription meds and alcohol who repeatedly break the law by assaulting others, making threats and harassing others. When they do we need to change the law and prohibit them from having a gun/ ammo. I would go as far as prohibiting a gun in a house where they reside.

    Its like auto accidents before the 80's, people had them all the time, some a lot more than others. There wasn't much looking into if they were drinking or not. A accident was just a accident. Then our society got serious with drinking and driving. Law enforcement organizations received updated/ better training and their detection levels went up. Because of this type of getting serious on DUI's our roads are much safer.
  10. MrCrumb
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    MrCrumb - January 17, 2013 7:47 am
    No amount of legislation is going to stop tragedies like Sandy Hook and Columbine. There are an enormous number of troubled people in the world. Only a tiny fraction of them go on to commit atrocities. Any attempt to identify them will falsely identify orders of magnitude more people who would never harm anyone. Troubled people will be lost in a sea of false positives.

    Persons such as the Sandy Hook shooter would also be undeterred by gun laws. Guns are not the only way to kill people and legal purchases are not the only way to acquire a gun. In the Sandy Hook case, the shooter did not own any guns.

    Shootings like this have happened many times before. Congress responded by restricting the sale of firearms. Despite the laws we have passed previously, the Sandy Hook shooting happened anyway. Atrocities like this will continue to happen regardless of any laws congress passes.

    While the constant media attention may suggest otherwise these atrocities are already very rare.
  11. Hive
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    Hive - January 17, 2013 3:50 am
    Jeff has common sense, Catfish makes sense +1.

    Something else needs fixing, and it is not weapons availability, which is becoming clearer every day.
  12. CatfishCurly
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    CatfishCurly - January 17, 2013 1:04 am
    Please wake up folks. When was the last time you heard of a responsible gun owner, that's been thru the DNR gun safety, hunted since he was a boy, grew up with guns in the house & then went in and used a gun to commit a mass murder? NEVER HAPPENS! .....because for those of us who grew up around guns....we respect the objects that give us so much peace and sport & we would never do such a thing. We'd never put responsible gun owners in that light either.

    The nuts that commit these horrendous crimes are not worried about laws, that won't stop them from stealing a gun and killing. They want their notoriety and fame from the 24/7/365 news craze! Instant celebrities, as awful as that sounds, it is true. Most have never owned a gun until just before.

    AR 15' s or other black rifles are not full auto so they are only compared to military guns because of their cosmetic likenesses. Military guns are illegal already.

    We already have many laws and background checks have been done for years
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