Abilene gun dealers react to Senate committee passing background check bill

Gun sales & background checks

ABILENE, Texas - Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass a bill that would require background checks by private gun dealers. 

"As a dealer if we go, we still do our background checks from there, but a private citizen can go in and just sell guns without any check," said Jeremy Wolfe, a co-owner of B&B Pawn and Trading Co.   

If the bill currently in the Senate passes, that would change and many local gun store dealers said they are in favor of it.

"It is kind of frustrating to kind of have our feet held to the fire and we want to be responsible and yet there's other ways of going... There's a huge loophole in the system right now," Wolfe said.

Surprisingly, some private gun dealers are not opposed either.

"I'd hate to see it change, but if it's going to help keep the wrong ones from getting them, we need it," said Lawrence Stice, a private gun dealer who sells collector guns at gun shows.

The bill still needs to make it through a final vote on the Senate floor and no republicans in the Senate Committee voted in favor of it. Many Republicans in the Senate said they are worried the bill could lead to national registration and confiscation of firearms.

A recent poll by the Texas Tribune and University of Texas found almost 80 percent of those they surveyed support stricter background checks when it comes to the mentally ill and criminals.

"If you look back and add all the shootings that occurred recently you'll see the big majority of them have suffered from mental deficiencies," said Billy Sellers, a longtime gun owner. 

What don't gun owners and dealers like about the new regulations?

"You're getting into personal business between a man and another man when you start requiring background checks at a gun show," Sellers said.

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