WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The debate over how lawmakers should or should not respond has brought the gun control debate front and center after the Parkland Massacre.
For perspective from a gun storeowner, we interviewed Alex Shkop, the owner of the Gun Range and Training Center in West Palm Beach. He said he saw a slight bump in gun sales following the shooting, which surprised him. But, he says, the conversation over gun control is focused on the wrong thing.
“We just need to embrace the reality. That is what the conversation truly needs to be about because it’s really hard to fix evil by a law. We have plenty of laws and that’s why our jails are full,” he said.
The father of two says an assault rifle ban might make us feel better, but it wouldn’t work.
I asked him, “What would you say to someone that says it was easier with that style of weapon than say a knife or something else?”
He replied, “That’s where I disagree because basically people saying it’s okay to kill one person and it’s not okay to kill 17. I disagree with that concept because I think we need to protect every life and we shouldn’t sacrifice one.”
But what about raising the age to buy a gun to 21?
“I am not against that at all. If that helps, we should probably do it.”
We met now 24-year-old Parker Hedrick inside the store.
“I bought my gun when I was 18. It was a bolt action,” he says. His view is only if the gun is assault style, the age limit should be raised. “I remember when I was a kid, I was always thinking the clearest but I wasn’t thinking in terms to harm someone.”
Alex says if it’s not a gun, people will find something else to harm people. That that is where the root of the problem is.
“You can’t take evil out of the human race. That’s the issue,” he said.
President Donald Trump and others including Florida Governor Rick Scott said recently that they would support a bump stock ban.
I asked Alex about that. He said he doesn’t even sell them here but if it was something that would make people feel better than he would support it.