Dubuque gun retailer: assault rifles flying off shelves - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque gun retailer: assault rifles flying off shelves


Assault rifles are selling like hotcakes. At least, that's how Ken Freiburger sees it. He owns the Gun Depot and Pawn in Dubuque, has been in the gun business for decades and talks with other firearm retailers.

At his store Wednesday, Freiburger said the uncertain future of guns in America is fueling assault rifle sales.

"It's just all the talk of the assault weapons ban and they're talking stuff like taxing ammo and just all kinds of stuff and people are just unsure of where this is going to go and how long it's going to go on and what they're going to do and people are just buying like crazy," he said.

Earlier that day, President Obama addressed the nation, offering 23 specific executive directives for strengthening existing gun laws and challenging Congress to pass legislation further controlling firearms.

"If you want to buy a gun, whether it's from a licensed dealer or a private seller, you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one," the president said in his address. "Second, Congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines."

Ryan Bankson, a Dubuque gun owner and infantry officer with the Iowa Army National Guard, has one of these assault rifles. At his apartment Wednesday, Bankson said responsible gun owners shouldn't face additional restrictions for the actions of criminals.

"It's just going to hurt your law-abiding citizens, not your criminals," he said. "Your criminals are going to get guns anyway, so stricter gun control is going to keep guns out of the hands of people who want to defend themselves, their family, their community, not the bad guys, who are still going to have guns."

As President Obama favors reinstituting the ban on military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, assistant chief of Dubuque police Terry Tobin is looking out for the safety of his officers.

"I think there's a general concern that the assault, military-style weapons, the high magazine capacities," he said at the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center Wednesday. "Those are all big threats to our safety on the streets and something that we have to be concerned with."

Obama also wants background checks run on anybody buying a gun, not just those buying from licensed dealers, as is now the case.

"The expanded background check is something that can be beneficial," assistant chief Tobin said, "but it's not going to cure all evils because there are issues where responsible people are obtaining firearms and then they fall into the hands of I guess what we would term irresponsible people."

Freiburger, however, said gun control isn't the path to curbing gun violence.

"Beef up your law enforcement: more patrol cars, more officers," he suggested.

Tobin said the cure to gun violence extends beyond gun control measures, that enforcement of existing laws is key, too.

"In order to improve on the enforcement, it's going to take additional people, it's going to take additional funds to ramp up our background checks and enforcement actions," he said

Obama also proposed making funds available for extra school resource officers and police officers, if communities so choose to take advantage of those.

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