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.