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11 News Investigates: Gauging the pressure on gun rights in Arkansas | News

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11 News Investigates: Gauging the pressure on gun rights in Arkansas

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - Restrictions towards guns are popping up all across the United States, and THV11 wanted to know how that was affecting gun owners and trade shows in Arkansas.

"I feel like it's tremendously in danger, and it's getting worse every day‎," said Doc Jaggars, of Malvern, while on his way to a gun show at the Garland County Fairgrounds. 

"The government's misunderstanding us as a gun show," said Junior Cliff, one of the vendors inside that show. 

There's frustration among the participants over the way the trends have gone in the last few years, but also frustrations by the way participants have been characterized in the media.

"It's like we're trying to overwhelm people with weapons. We're not," said Cliff, owner of Gee St. Pawn.

The President calls that change a common sense effort to combat gun violence, but responsible sellers claim they're already doing their part.             

"People try to do straw purchases with dealers that can't buy guns," said Cliff of the practice of having someone who can legally make a gun purchase stand in for a person who legally can't. "We don't fall for it, because we're prepared for it"

But the expansion of who is "in the business" of selling guns will expand, and that keeps gun rights proponents concerned. 

"There does appear to be a good deal of anxiety about government overreach," said Tom Powers of Arkansas Quartermaster. He will likely need to change the license he has now if he wants to keep selling at shows.

To people like Powers and Cliff, those incremental restrictions could be just the beginning. 

Professor Rob Steinbuch of UALR's Bowmen School of Law said the threat isn't imminent, but don't let your guard down.

"They should not be fearful, not because the president would necessarily not want to take away their gun rights, but because he doesn't have sufficient power to do so," he said.

The next presidential election could change the dynamic of gun sales around the U.S.

"In the long term if there's a significant change in government, so that we have a very liberal government, there is a chance that we could see a significant infringement on the powers that individuals have relative to guns," said Steinbuch.

The people THV11 talked with said gun control so far has been ineffective. They said they support background checks, but they worry about what comes next if gun violence persists. Rick Dierenfeldt, a doctoral candidate and former sheriff's deputy from Missouri, may have an answer.

"Most of our legislative efforts have focused on controlling the ability of citizens to buy firearms," said Dierenfeldt. "We need to control the ability of offenders to procure stolen guns."

Dierenfeldt has been closely analyzing gun thefts.‎ His research presents an idea that aims to keep guns from being stolen in the first place. "Tax rebates for the purchase and installation of floor or wall mounted gun safes within homes, and the same thing within vehicles."

The study basically resulting in a way to keep bad guns from bad people. Jaggars expressed that it is not the guns he is afraid of. 

"Anywhere there's good people with guns, I feel very secure,"‎ said Jaggars. 

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