Gun owners debate gun control at Game Fair in Ramsey

Updated: August 09, 2019 07:18 PM

In election years, Game Fair in Anoka County is a popular place for candidates to court voters.

This year, even without big races on the local or national level, politics is again a popular topic at Game Fair.


More specifically, gun owners debated between one another what our politicians should do to help stop gun violence.

"I have a conceal and carry and if the government wants to know what I have, that's fine," said Bert Williams, Vice President of Pheasant Forever's Anoka County chapter. "I just think everybody should be checked, that's my opinion."

Williams was staffing the Pheasants Forever booth Friday at Game Fair, right next to a booth for the National Rifle Association.

Unlike his neighbors with the NRA, Williams supports legislation to establish laws requiring private sellers, like those at gun shows or on the internet, to conduct a background check

"I just can't understand why people don't agree with that," Williams said. "It just makes sense to me. Our guns are not going to disappear."

More from KSTP: 

Trump says he wants background checks, also reassures NRA

McConnell wants to consider gun background checks in fall

Other gun owners at Game Fair agreed with Williams and were open to the possibility of additional gun control measures.

"You've got to close a few things in the background check," said firearms safety instructor Jeff VanGeest, of Becker.

But VanGeest said legislation alone isn't enough.

"We have to quit being crabby with each other every day," VanGeest said. "We just have to turn around and talk with each other. That's what I think it is. More education, more talking with each other."

That talk, however, should start with the role mental illness plays in gun violence, said gun owner Tracy Jordet.

"It's not the guns that are killing people, it's the people that have PTSD, mental illness, depression, anxiety," Jordet, of Glenwood, said.  "It just goes on and on and on. And that is what is really hurting the image of gun owners."

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS did try to speak with the people working at the NRA booth at Game Fair but were told they couldn't comment.

The NRA released a statement saying the proposals being discussed by many, meaning background checks and so-called red flag laws, would not have stopped the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton.

The statement goes on to say the proposed laws would make gun owners less safe and less able to defend themselves and their loved ones.

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Tom Hauser

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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