Baton Rouge residents debate gun control after SC church shooting

Baton Rouge residents debate gun control after SC church shooting

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Just two days after nine people were killed in a church shooting in Charleston, SC, people across the country, including in Baton Rouge, are divided over the issue of gun control.

President Obama was one of the first to enter the debate, renewing calls for increased gun control during a speech from the White House.

"At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this kind of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries," Obama said. "It is in our power to do something about it."

But not everyone agrees, including Wade Duty, co-owner of Precision Firearms and Gun Range. He says the guns are not the problem. It's the people holding them.

"There's no law you're going to pass that's going to make the mentally ill not act in the manner that produces these kinds of incidents," Duty said.

He wants mental health databases already in place to be improved and streamlined. That way, he says, background check procedures are more effective.

"I don't see how disarming people who did not commit a violent act actually makes the mentally ill behave better. There's no way to connect those dots," he said.

This is not the first time the debate over gun control has entered the public arena. Two years ago, Obama pushed for universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons following the Newtown school shooting.

That measure was defeated in the Senate. More than half of the senators voted in support of the measure, but it fell short of the 60 votes needed to pass.

From the halls of the Senate in Washington, D.C. to the streets of downtown Baton Rouge, the citizen debate over gun control continues.

"I wish we had done something about this long ago," said Annie Leblanc, who lives near Southern University. She said that if a person didn't have a gun, they wouldn't use it.

Jeannine Thevenot didn't agree.

"It's easy to get your hands on a gun," she said. "But it takes more than just having a gun in your hand to pull that trigger and kill someone."

All this part of a debate that shows no sign of ending any time soon.

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