By ASHLEY NEWMAN
Local gun store owners offered mixed reactions on Wednesday to the news of President Barack Obama's signing of 23 executive actions to curb violence in America.
Jim Glass, owner of J&B Sports in Leavittsburg, did not seem to be concerned with the new laws, much of which focuses on making more federal data available for background checks and brings an end to a freeze on government research on gun violence.
"I'm required to do the background checks anyway and have been since 1994. I don't see these new laws doing much to change that at all," Glass said on Wednesday.
"I can't sell a handgun to someone living in Pennsylvania. I don't think it will change anything with gun stores like mine. The only thing it could have an impact on me are the gun shows, but that's about it," he said.
Along with signing of the executive actions, Obama urged a reluctant Congress on Wednesday to pass a sweeping gun reform proposal. The legislation would require background checks for all gun sales and ban both military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The president's $500 million plan, coming one month after the school massacre in Connecticut, marks the most comprehensive effort to tighten gun laws in nearly two decades. But his proposals, most of which are opposed by the National Rifle Association, face a doubtful future in a divided Congress where Republicans control the House.
"To make a real and lasting difference, Congress, too, must act," Obama said, speaking at a White House ceremony with school children and their parents. "And Congress must act soon."
The president's announcements capped a swift and wide-ranging effort, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to respond to the deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
But, according to Glass, harsher gun laws will not stop such massacres from happening.
"It won't do a thing to solve the problem. The school shooting was absolutely horrible, but the kid that did it wasn't worried about following gun laws," Glass said.
''Almost everything he did that day was illegal. Criminals don't care about the gun laws. That's something some people don't seem to understand," he said.
Glass noted gun sales have skyrocketed since the Newtown shooting.
"Anything high capacity will sell," Glass said. "People are going to snap them up as fast as possible. Most gun stores have already sold out of all high capacity stuff. People think this is the start of eventually banning those kinds of things."
Dennis Day, owner of Rattlesnake Hill Sporting Goods in Hubbard agreed, saying his store can barely keep an inventory due to people stocking up in anticipation of new laws restricting assault weapons.
"Our gun sales and reloading sales are way up," Day said on Wednesday. "We've sold everything we have, pretty much. People think the government is coming in and taking all the guns away tomorrow. It is all a ploy. They make close to 3,000 AR-15s a day and that is not changing today or tomorrow."
Obama's gun control proposals set him up for a tough political fight with Congress as he starts his second term, when he'll need Republican support to meet three looming fiscal deadlines and pass comprehensive immigration reform.
"I will put everything I've got into this, and so will Joe," the president said. "But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it."
Day does not anticipate extensive gun reform making it through Congress, citing the issue as too hot for most politicians to touch.
"Chances are, both the House and Senate will drag their feet on this. They don't really want to have to come out strongly one way or the other," Day said. "Before you know it, three to four years will go past, the president will be out of office and nothing will have happened.
"If anything does happen, it'll take a long time. The country will probably go broke before anything seriously is done with gun control," he said.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner's office signaled no urgency to act, with spokesman Michael Steel saying only that "House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations. And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was committed to ensuring that the Senate will consider gun violence legislation "early this year." But he did not endorse any of Obama's specific proposals.
The president vowed to use "whatever weight this office holds" to fight for his recommendations. He's likely to travel around the country in the coming weeks to rally public support and could engage his still-active presidential campaign operation in the effort. But he'll have to overcome a well-financed counter-effort by the NRA.
"This will be difficult," Obama acknowledged. "There will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty - not because that's true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves."
U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan issued a statement on Wednesday in support of Obama's proposals on gun control.
"I am very pleased to see President Obama present a number of reasonable proposals for reform of our nation's gun laws. We must do all we can to prevent these tragic mass shootings and deaths that happen every day due to gun violence," Ryan said. "It will take a comprehensive approach that also addresses the core causes of violence in our society at large. This is a very positive first step."
Ryan, D-Niles, claims the proposals and executive action is about strengthening the Constitution, not opposing the second amendment.
The Associated Press contributed to this story