At Expo Idaho’s last gun show for the foreseeable future (safety concerns following an accidental discharge prompted a moratorium on gun shows at the center), U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, criticized President Barack Obama’s executive action regulating gun ownership.
“We’ve been engaged in this fight for years now, and particularly with President Obama, as he continues to try to increase the reach of the federal government into the private lives of American citizens,” Crapo said about the executive action which would beef up the background check process for guns. “With regard to this particular executive order, we already have legislation drafted that would stop the effectiveness of this new executive order and actually again refocus the attention on the kinds of things we need to be looking at.”
Obama’s executive action would unfairly target citizens with brain injuries and the elderly, Crapo said.
“Long before the (mass) shootings occurred, the president made it very clear that he does not want Americans to have access to firearms and has continuously, throughout his presidency, undertaken action that restricted access to ammunition, restricted access to certain firearms and restricted the ability of people who engage in firearms transactions,” he said.
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Government intervention on gun issues isn’t out of the question across the board, he said. He supports Ada County’s decision to put a moratorium on gun shows at Expo Idaho while they evaluate liability and security issues. Two individuals had been shot accidentally while a gun vendor was securing a bolt-action rifle on Oct. 31. Two shows planned for later in 2016, by the same company, Lewis Clark Trader, were canceled. The show Saturday was allowed to continue since the promoter had spent nonrefundable money on the event already.
“It’s local government. It’s not the fed government trying to take guns away from people,” he said. “Secondly, it’s a local government that’s focused on a legitimate issue: the question of liability and how they are going to handle the liability issues for the gun show. And I fully expect it to be worked out.”
Gun dealers at the show didn’t all have the same perspective.
Don Bushey, a vendor, wasn’t pleased with the county’s moratorium.
“I think it’s a little ridiculous, and I’ll tell you why: It’s because the same company here has done well over 100 shows down here with only one accident and that accident was by a new vendor,” he said.
Roger Meyer, a vendor with Rocky Mountain Antiques, said better education would curb accidental and intentional gun violence.
“My grandkids, from (when) they was big enough to handle a firearm, they was handling a firearm,” he said. “So if one of them had been in here and picked up that firearm the first thing they’d done is check to see if it was loaded.”
He said he didn’t trust government involvement in enacting policy to expand education.
“They always abuse. They take (legislation) further than what it was designed to do,” Meyer said.
Crapo also advocated for the government to pull back from regulating gun ownership.
“The problem here is not (that) too many Americans have the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The problem is that we’re not dealing with the true causes of violence in our society and are directing the attention — the focus — away from those kinds of solutions,” he said.
Bushey, alternatively, spoke in favor of Obama’s executive action. He said it protected his business by enhancing the background check process.
“I think it’s a long time coming and I think the (National Rifle Association) should have backed off on that years ago,” he said.