YULEE, Fla. — Laws surrounding the legal purchase of guns are becoming more thorough, but are the laws on target?
That’s the question one local gun club owner is raising after President Biden signed an executive order regarding gun safety earlier this week. The new executive order increased the amount of background checks for the legal purchase of guns for people who are under 21 years old. It also calls on the Attorney General to make sure that gun dealers who have a federal license to sell guns utilize background checks.
But is that what the process should be?
A typical day at Amelia Shotgun Sports in Yulee includes groups out shooting at clay pigeons using live rounds with legally obtained firearms. The guns at Amelia Shotgun Sports are for rent, but the club also facilitates sales.
Part of that process is securing the guns inside a safe and waiting for the background check to be complete.
Amelia Shotgun Sports owner Dawn Grant says that holding a Federal Firearms License (FFL) already requires proper background checks for the sale of a gun. Grant also has decades of experience in the mental health field as a professional mental skills trainer and says these background checks are looking for the wrong thing.
"Background checks are related to criminal background checks if the person's already broken the law," said Grant. "We don't really have things in place related to preventative measures. What really needs to be put in place are preventative measures of identifying folks rather than treating the symptom after."
Georgia Congresswoman Lucy McBath’s son Jordan Davis was murdered in Jacksonville in 2012. Last year she proposed a bill that was included in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was the first federal gun safety legislation in 30 years. Representative McBath released the following statement to First Coast News in regard to the President’s new executive order on background checks for gun sales.
“Across America, too many families are forced to deal with the pain of losing a loved one. I am so proud my bill to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others was included in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and I am pleased with the expediency and commitment that President Biden is making toward keeping our communities safe. Because I know the pain of losing a child to gun violence, and no parent should ever have to feel that pain.”
But Grant says the new measures target criminal history instead of mental health.
“When I'm at my shotgun club I'm surrounded by strangers," said Grant. "They're shooting shotguns around me, my employees and other people all day long and nobody gets shot, it's not the guns. We need to identify levels of mental illness and keep guns out of the hands of somebody who is mentally ill.”
Here's a fact sheet provided by the White House regarding President Biden’s executive order on gun safety.
Here is the text of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was sponsored by Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
Amelia Shotgun Sports is located at 86300 Hot Shot Trail, Yulee, FL 32097 and more information about their times and available activities can be found on their website.