Akron gun store owner concerned about proposed bill limiting gun ownership

AKRON, Ohio - The national gun debate came to Ohio during the March For Our Lives demonstrations near Cleveland and in Akron. Even before that, local elected leaders started writing legislation that could change gun ownership rights in the state.

The Ohio Senate is considering new laws for owning assault weapons since late February, right around the time the Akron City Council passed a resolution asking them to do it. But the bigger concern could be about something much less controversial than assault weapons.

"My generation, having spent our entire lives seeing mass shooting after mass shooting, has learned that our voices are powerful and our votes matter," said Stoneman Douglas High School Student Cameron Kasky at the March For Our Lives rally.

Licensed gun dealers have seen this kind of trend before.

Summit Armory owner Tim Ostrander says sales dropped to almost nothing when President Trump was elected because gun owners no longer feared it would be harder to buy what they wanted.

"[Gun sales] fluctuate with tragedy, unfortunately," said Ostrander. "You'll see an increase. It doesn't matter what the tragedy is."

He says part of those surges is out of fear of needing a gun for self-defense. Other buyers show up out of a fear of additional regulations, especially for long guns like shotguns for assault rifles like the AR-15.

"Yeah, because it's the dangerous black gun," said Ostrander, referring to perceptions about the rifle.

Right now, Congress is considering a ban on assault rifles. Ohio's Senate has introduced Senate Bill 260 creating a database for people who buy long guns and limiting how many bullets a magazine would be able to hold at once. That came around the same time Akron's City Council called for the state legislature to take action.

In the background is one big concern about age restrictions.

Americans can't own a handgun until they're 21 and some elected leaders have suggested already that creating a similar age limit for long guns could be around the corner. Tim says customers take notice that someone can serve in the military at 17 but could come home and not be trusted with similar weapons.

"[They can] shoot cannons, throw grenades but when you get out, you can't own this gun, you can own a BB gun or an airsoft gun," said Ostrander.

Tim says if any laws do get passed limiting gun ownership, he expects private sales to increase. In Ohio, there are far fewer regulations for those sales compared to buying through a licensed dealer.

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