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Gun shop owner says age-restrictions are not the answer

Gun shop owner says age-restrictions are not the answer

RICHLAND, Wash. - Large national stores like Wal-Mart, Dick's Sporting Goods and Fred Meyer are raising the minimum age to buy a gun in their stores to 21.

Federal Law already restricts hand-guns to buyers age 21 and older in most cases, while rifles are sold to anyone 18 years and older as long as they pass a background check.

Steve Krause owns The Bunker, a Richland gun shop, said that's how it should be.

"I don't mind deeper background checks, I don't mind waiting periods even, but changing the age to 21 isn't going to fix the problem," Krause said.

The Bunker specializes in tactical firearms, but also in preparedness and training.

Both of which its owner said are more important than the year someone is born.

Krause thinks folks going after age because the shooter in Florida was only 19.

"I think a lot of people had a pre-set notion you couldn't buy a gun til 21," he said. "Well realistically, the only thing you can't do until 21 is buy alcohol."

And that's why he said his store will follow the law as it's written.

"We're a veteran store, we're run by vets, we're owned by a vet," he said before clarifying. "You can serve your country at 18 years old, you can go fight a war and they're going to give you a firearm."

But he said they also give those 18-year-olds proper training.

And that, he said, is the key.

Krause said training is necessary to drive a car and it should be the same for firearms.

"It's your right to have one and that's fine, we don't want to impede on that right. But we need to fix the real issue which is lack of training, lack of mental health facilities," he said.

Krause said his store differs from larger chains enacting minimum-age requirements.

"It doesn't solve anything," he sighed. "The mental disorder they have that makes them not value human life isn't going to change between [ages] 18 and 21."

This is why he said lawmakers should avoid what he considers knee-jerk reactions when calling for new laws.

"We need to slow down, step back, take a look at what we can actually do to fix the problem and counteract the issue," Krause said. "Technology changes. But the ability to teach a kid morals and the value of life and responsibility doesn't change."

Krause told Action News there's been a spike in gun sales since the latest round of gun-control talks started.

Action News reached out to other licensed gun stores in our area like Grigg's and Ranch and Home but did't hear back before the story went to air.

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