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North Country gun stores sour on Biden’s orders

New York state-compliant AR-15 rifles are on display with other firearms at X-PLO Firearms and Ammunition Thursday in Plattsburgh. (Provided photo — Press-Republican)

PLATTSBURGH — President Joe Biden’s recent executive orders on gun control in the wake of recent mass shootings is drawing mixed reaction in the state and locally.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo lauds the orders, but Congresswoman Elise Stefanik calls them unconstitutional.

“After four years of little more than deflection, NRA-kowtowing, thoughts, and prayers in the wake of Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, El Paso, Parkland, and far too many more acts of gun violence, I applaud President Biden and Attorney General Garland for taking action yesterday to help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Biden’s actions require buyers of homemade guns that often lack serial numbers to undergo background checks and pistols with stabilizing braces like the one used in the Boulder, Colorado, shooting would be classified as short-barreled rifles, which would require a federal license to own, a more thorough application process and a $200 tax under the National Firearms Act.

Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, does not support the measures.

“President Biden’s series of gun grab executive orders are unconstitutional and bypass the will of Congress and the American People,” Stefanik said on Twitter.

“President Biden and the House Democrats’ anti-2nd amendment agenda is unconstitutional and infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens in the North Country and across America.”

Local reaction

Dick Decosse, owner of Dick’s Country Store: Gun City and Music Oasis in Churubusco, said Biden’s orders are “feel-good laws” and that responsible gun owners have been unfairly targeted.

“It just sounds good to the public that’s unaware of what the laws are,” he said. “It sounds good, but would it stop anybody from going crazy and hurting other people?”

Decosse said the average gun owner in the U.S. is responsible and will follow whatever actions or laws are put in place, regardless of if they agree with them.

“The real gun owners of America don’t want any [mass shootings] because it ruins our hobby,” he said. “But to pass all these laws, they’re just pulling the wool over peoples’ eyes. It’s not going to change anything.”

Michael McKinnon, an employee at X-PLO Firearms and Ammunition in the Plattsburgh area, agreed with Decosse, saying the laws in place are enough and that stricter enforcement of the ones already in place would be a better way to prevent mass shootings.

“The laws are already there,” McKinnon said. “There’s not one magic law that will fix it.”

But McKinnon also said no substantive change with guns will happen until the issue becomes less politicalized.

“Until you get both sides to actually sit down and talk legitimately to each other, it’s not going to change,” he said. “Each side uses it as a political sledgehammer to attack the other side.”

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