AKRON, Ohio — The Northeast Ohio response to President Joe Biden's April 8 executive order on gun control is receiving a wide range of reaction from local political leaders and experts.
The president's order called for the regulation and restriction of "ghost guns," which are handmade, self-assembled firearms, fabricated from parts purchased online that don't have serial numbers and don't require a background check.
Biden's order also called for the registration of stabilizing braces, which can turn a handgun into a short-barreled rifle—an accessory allegedly used during the shootings in Boulder, Colorado.
Akron Councilwoman Tara Mosely Samples applauded President Biden's first steps, but said much more must be done to reduce gun violence. Mosely Samples said she was disappointed the president stopped short in working toward re-establishing the U.S. ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004.
Mosely Samples pointed to the six teens and children who died at the hands of gun violence in a four-month period last summer. The councilwoman said the president must also ban bump stocks and trigger cranks, which can increase the firing rate of a semi-automatic weapon.
"We have had babies as young as 6 to 7 years old die because of gun violence here in our city and it’s not getting any better, it’s only getting worse," Mosley Samples said. “President Biden does have some work to do in those areas. These steps are good, but it’s not going to do anything to face what we’re facing right now and that’s the influx of crime. Back in 2018, myself and Dennis Kucinich proposed that to the state to ban assault weapons, along with bump stocks and trigger cranks, and the sentiment has not changed. There is no reason for those kinds of weapons to get into the hands of everyday people, those are weapons of war.”
But Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dean Rieck told News 5 that President Biden's executive order will not have any impact in curtailing crime. Rieck said more restrictions on gun equipment won't reduce gun violence, only tougher laws against the perpetrators of these crimes will make a difference.
“Assault weapons bans, red flag laws and magazine limits and all that, they just don’t have an effect,” Rieck said. “Why pass laws when we know that they’re not going to work, this is just pure politics.”
Kim Rodecker, owner of Cleveland's Concealed Carry Courses agrees more restrictions won't help.
“It’s already illegal, it’s already a federal crime to make guns without the serial number on it, it’s already a crime, so it won’t have an effect,” Rodecker said.
The president's executive order announcement also called for increasing funding for intervention programs in violence-prone communities. Biden also called on the Justice Department to publish model "red flag" laws which will help states introduce legislation, allowing the temporary removal of guns from people deemed a high risk of harming themselves or others.
President Biden also ordered a comprehensive report on firearms trafficking here in the U.S.
Still, Mosley Samples is hoping the president will take more steps in the coming months.
“We have to address the underlying issue here, and that is assault weapons,” Moseley Samples said. "It’s unfortunate that he stopped there because that is where the problem is.”