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Athenians Split on Gun Control

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A recent tragedy concerning drug use has reignited gun control discussions at a national level. The topic knows no bounds and has reached the quaint hills of Athens, Ohio.

Among the concerned is Shannon Welch, President of the Ohio University College Democrats.

“While I do not feel that people’s hunting rights should be infringed upon, I do believe that people that do not intend to be violent with their gun use should be supportive of more gun control and should also have nothing to worry about, since no one intends to stop people from hunting or from basic self preservation,” Welch said.

Welch believes that “mental health support and awareness” should be discussed on a broader scale, and much more in depth. She also suggested there should be fundamental changes in gun control and said that she supported an assault weapons ban.

“In my own personal opinion, I believe that there needs to be a fundamental change in how gun control works. I support the assault weapons ban, background checks on those seeking to purchase guns, and more mental health awareness/care,” Welch said. “I am extremely supportive of President Obama’s proposal in response to this debate. We are a fairly large organization and I know that our opinions differ, but I believe that most of our members agree that further action to expand gun control needs to take place. “

Kevin Martin is the proprietor of Hilltop Gun Club located outside of the city. The club employs several instructors who have a great deal of gun experience, including some who have had combat experience, according to the website.

Along with the sale of firearms, the club provides “gun training, Concealed Carry Weapons Certification (CCW) and tactical firearms training.”

Martin calls his classes very “unorthodox,” featuring training not only about guns, but also incorporates combat disciplines like kicking, boxing and use of knives.

Martin also encourages profiling individuals one might consider a danger and always being conscientious of your surroundings. Martin explained that those in his class are also subject to background checks.

The State of Ohio is often considered one of the most stringent when it comes to gaining access to guns and permits. He pointed out that former governor Ted Strickland made all gun laws the same across the state of Ohio.

In order to get a Conceal & Carry permit, a person must pass three tests: two written and one shooting. This person must then take the application to the Sheriff’s Office, which performs a background check. The Bureau of Criminal Investigations Services conducts a background check, as does the FBI, then someone locally under the sheriff decides if this person warrants a license. If they are not granted a license, they must be informed why.

Additionally, Martin shared with The New Political some of his views about gun control as well as a variety of other issues that could pertain to guns and personal safety.

Martin discussed three different groups that were, in his opinion, driving the gun market in light of recent tragedy.

He called them the “hoarders,” “panickers,” and “new people.”

“The hoarders are the guys who will buy 50,000 rounds of ammunition and 10 guns. I do not know what for,” he said. “The other group is what I refer to as the panickers. ‘Oh I should have gotten that gun,’ they go down and buy what is left. The remaining group is first timers because they’re scared.”

Martin also has been overwhelmed by a public response recently.

“There has been a huge difference. I get emails, texts and phone calls constantly every day. People are scared,” Martin said.

Martin was also critical of where the U.S. currently stands culturally. He sees a great deal of weakness and complacency.

“There are no tough people any more, no fighters. There are no people promoting self-defense. We have become sayers instead of doers.”

All in all, Martin does not see people with guns as the problem.

“We are not militia, or machine gun carrying people. We are fathers, mothers and normal people.”

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