Frankly, however, the people The Post-Signal spoke to on Thursday were, for the most part, one-sided.
Gun advocates have been buying guns at a staggering pace across the country since the shooting of 26 people, 20 of whom were children aged five through nine, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. To speak with Brenda Smith, co-owner of R&B Pawn on North Parkerson Avenue in Crowley, however, the rise in the number of gun sales began before the tragedy in Newtown.
“We noticed a spike in gun sales when President Obama was re-elected and people knew he supported gun control,” said Brenda Smith, co-owner of R&B Pawn. “Then, after the shooting in Connecticut, we saw a dramatic increase. We sold a tactical weapon that we have had on our shelf for a long time.”
Just one look at the area where the guns were sold at R&B Pawn emphasized Smith’s point. In the area that was once filled with shotguns and assault weapons there were only seven weapons in a rack that held approximately 50-75 of them.
When also posting the question on Facebook a variety of responses were received. At first, the responses came from citizens of Acadia Parish, but then messages and responses from different parts of the country started coming in, leading to an interesting, and sometimes downright combative, result.
“From South Texas to the Feds, come and take them. I dare you,” said Al Baen of Port Aransas, Texas.
Phil Daigle of Crowley shared Baen’s view on gun control, albeit less confrontational, and believes other reasons are to blame for the increase in gun violence, mass shootings in particular, over the past decade.
“Guns are not the problem. Evil is the problem,” he said. “The trash Hollyweird puts out to the masses along with violent video games are making our kids desensitized. These people have no sense of reality.”
“From my cold dead hands,” said Crowley’s Mike McBride. “Gun control is not the problem, the people are the problem. We don’t raise our children, well I mean some people don’t raise their children, the way we were raised. We were not coddled as children. We had prayer in school and we were taught to win and lose with honor and manners. It’s these crazy people who got lost somewhere along the way. Crazy people don’t care if there is a law, they are going to get the weapons.”
“Cars kill too,” said John Abbott of Lafayette. “Why don’t we eliminate them and go back to horse and buggy?”
However, some few responses while they still didn’t completely support gun control, suggested that there be restrictions put into place that make it tougher to put the wrong weapons in the wrong hands.
“How about a mandatory waiting period, mandatory registration of firearms and how about a limit on how many rounds a magazine can hold,” said Karen Long, a teacher in Lafayette.
She also responded to Abbott who has been a friend of hers since the two attended Lafayette High School together.
“I agree with you John in that I have no problem with people having guns,” she said. “With that having been said, you have to take a test to drive, you have to register your car, you have to have a license and you have to have insurance.”
“No one is saying to ban all gun sales,” said Paige Guidry Blondiau. “People having mental health issues are not freaks. They have an illness, they are ill and are not being cared for properly. If we had a better mental health system maybe some of this could be prevented.”
However, Chad Crochet’s suggestion seemed to mirror the thoughts of 75 percent of the people interviewed Thursday afternoon.
“Control the crossing of weapons across that pass across our borders,” he said. “Control the criminals and the gangs gaining access to guns before you control legal gun owners.”
While Crochet’s suggestion may sound a little easier said than done, one thing is obvious. This issue will be debated for a long time to come.