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Local activists respond to Biden’s gun control

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 8:36 PM EDT
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OREGON, Ohio (WTVG) - “Our flag was still flying at half staff for the victims of the horrific murder of eight primarily Asian-American people in Georgia, when ten more lives were taken in a mass murder in Colorado,” says President Joe Biden in his speech Thursday morning addressing gun reform.

In that address, he outlined changes to gun policy both short and long term. He cited recent mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado, and South Carolina, but also the toll of daily gun violence on communities as a reason for increasing regulations.

Local activists on both sides of the issue watched the speech carefully.

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Biden’s new measures were welcomed by the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

“These are things people have been asking for for a long, long time, and we now have a president that’s willing to move on them,” says Toby Hoover, the group’s founder.

While Time Henley, manager at Towers Armory in Oregon, was not as happy.

“It’s definitely a kneejerk reaction at this point. There’s no thought behind this at this point. It’s “We need to do something, and we need to do something now.”,” says Henley.

One executive order will increase the regulation of homemade “ghost guns” that do not require registration or serial numbers.

Another makes it easier for states to pass their own “red flag” laws by publishing model legislation. “Red flag” laws allow the court to temporarily remove guns from those believed to be a risk to themselves or others.

Ohio does not have such a law.

Henley questions the efficacy of increased regulations.

“I don’t think it’s going to be particularly effective as far as changing things... It’s just going to create a backlog on the justice department at this point,” says Henley.

“They don’t know if it’ll work because they haven’t tried it. So let’s try some of these things, before you say “that just won’t work,” says Hoover.

The Justice Department will be releasing drafts of these new rules in the next 30-60 days.

The President also called on Congress to make additional changes to gun policy, such as an assault weapons ban.

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