Shop owner speaks up about new gun legislation
New York has recently enacted the toughest gun laws in the nation.
President Barack Obama is pushing for national legislation equally as restrictive. Times are tough for gun shop owners.
"I've lost over $2,000," Mike Struble said. Struble runs a small gun shop at 328 Spaulding Hill Rd. in Owego, N.Y. Struble lost $2,000 in two days because he can no longer order guns and accessories that his customers want. Other items in his inventory he is selling at cost to other dealers to get rid of them.
Struble is a FFL, a Federal Firearms Licensee, and takes the responsibility of running his multi-generational family business seriously.
"You see this? This is the most recent manual I have," Struble said, holding up a book bigger than the phone book used to be. It was the FFL's most recent manual, released in 2005. New York's book is more up to date. It's from 2009.
Struble questioned who would pay for the new regulations, and who would oversee their compliance. As an example, Struble said that in 2001 all new guns sold in New York had to have a fired casing submitted to the state to help identify the gun should it ever be used in a crime. Struble complied and sent a casing included from the factory to Albany for a while. Then the program was ended because of a lack of funding, according to Struble.
Struble has also closely examined New York's new gun laws. He pointed out the confusion with smaller caliber handguns, including revolvers, which are not made with seven shot magazines.
Does a person who owns a revolver with an eight chamber cylinder have to leave one chamber empty or risk being arrested? If there are only seven rounds in a ten-round clip does that make it legal?
Struble pointed out that in every recent mass shooting incident the perpetrator was suffering from mental illness, and should not have had a gun.
"People with bipolar disorder or other mental illness with mood swings should not have guns," Struble said. But HIPAA, the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, prohibits the sharing of patient-doctor information. "Officers can't investigate a suspect's history of mental illness," Struble said.
Struble also questioned why he must now reapply for his handgun permit every five years when he was told it was a lifetime permit. "Criminals break laws, I don't," Struble said.
The requirement to do a background check for large purchases of ammunition also concerned Struble, something which he believes will frustrate many legal gun owners planning on going to the range for an afternoon.
To top it off, Struble pointed out that when the law takes effect in March all New York State law enforcement officers will be in violation of it, since there is no exemption in the law for law enforcement.
According to Struble, handguns are almost universally made with 10 or 15 round magazines, especially small caliber guns like .22's, but including the nine millimeter guns used by police. He said it was typical of another law pushed through so fast that nobody read it, but it could be an example of the attitude of politicians - that they write laws for others, not themselves.
"Laws turn around and bite them in the (expletive deleted)," Struble said. "They don't think about anything before they pass it."
All the new laws and the federal push for new gun legislation equates to an erosion of freedom to Struble. "Free country? The only thing that's still free in this country is dying," Struble said.
As far as plans to prohibit person to person gun sales without a background check, Struble said, "If gun sales can be stopped, then why are there still illegal drug sales?" He fears such laws will only lead to a black market, and formerly law-abiding citizens will then be criminals.
"Guns don't kill people, people do," Struble said.