Hunters Find Common Ground With Gun Control Advocates
WAUKESHA---Sport shooters like their semi-automatic firearms for target shooting.
At the Waukesha Gun Club, skill is measure by high succession shooting of the clay pigeons.
But among many here a feeling as if their hobby, their way of life is coming under assault in the call for stricter gun laws in the wake of several mass shootings. In particular a ban on so called assault weapons.
"Semi automatics that are used in sports clays," shooter Chris Jansen of Wales explained, "those will be the next things they're looking at."
Even though gun control advocates say they're not targeting the sports shooter or hunter Jansen says, "Once you open the door, they start with the high cap mags (magazines holding ammunition) and who knows where that goes."
The DNR patrol the woods where an estimated 700,000 hunters gather each year in Wisconsin.
The agency tells CBS 58 that semi-auto firearms are very popular in Wisconsin and they anticipate major changes in their law enforcement efforts if new laws are passed.
The DNR also anticipates that we could see more hunters carrying more magazines if they re limited to fewer rounds because it only takes a second to change an empty magazine with a full one.
Longtime hunter Scott Sieszynsk of Kohler complains about the misconception of semi-automatic firearms, "So many of the things they're talking about are aesthetic. People are talking about them like because they have a pistol grip somehow it's more danger or because it's black instead of walnut colored. While those do the same thing as grandpa's walnut stock does."
While Greg Irwin of Eagle says, "I think they're focusing on the wrong problem. Yeah, I'm concerned, I think we all are."
About the only place we heard of possible room for compromise is on the issue of universal background checks to close a loophole especially with on line sales.
"Background checks on everybody, absolutely," hunter Jon Fectau of Milwaukee says, "if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to hide."
Pat Gerbensky, Waukesha Gun Club President adds, " They need to improve the background checks and include more items into the background checks. It doesn't seem like that's what they want to do. I think they want to ban guns."