News 3 investigates gun laws in Virginia after Texas school shooting leaves 21 dead

Gun guns gun store
Posted at 5:30 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 19:01:14-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – The sorrow and horror continue throughout the country after an 18-year-old gunned down 19 students and two adults inside a Texas elementary school.

Shootings like the recent one in Texas invoke outrage, anger, and discussions about gun laws. Thursday, News 3 went in search of different opinions on what gun laws should look like in our country.

Sixth-grader Shelby Nelson said knows the fear after there was a shooting at her elementary school in Portsmouth.

Police said a gun accidentally went off in 2018.

Shelby told us she was horrified by the shooting in Texas.

“I think it’s really sad and upsetting, and I don’t think 18-year-olds should be able to buy guns,” Shelby said.

“We do have an obvious problem with gun violence, gun laws, gun safety in our country,” said former Navy Seal Don Mann, who was also a weapons instructor for 20 years.

He said he wants tougher laws in place for assault weapons.

“The system has to be tightened up so that just not everybody can go buy one of these, because they're a lot more dangerous than a shotgun or a single-shot weapon or a semi-automatic pistol. They can fire so many more rounds so much quicker,” Mann said.

But not everyone agrees.

“It doesn’t matter about the weapon. It’s not the gun that kills people. It is the crazy people who do it,” said David Dinger.

Dinger said he would like to see better parenting and more security at schools.

“The schools are a soft target and these people know that,” Dinger said.

News 3 met up with the owner of Bob’s Gun Shop, Steve Dowdy, to get his opinion. He, too, thinks that school security and safety should be the top priority across the country.

“Gun dealers get vilified like we choose profit over safety. I’ve got kids in public school. We want them to be safe and we try extremely hard to make sure that guns don’t get sold to people that can’t have them,” Dowdy said.

He said the term 'assault weapon' has a negative connotation, and says these kinds of guns are also called modern sporting rifles.

At his store, he will not sell assault-style guns to people under the age of 21 years old unless they are active duty. He said legally, gun shop owners are allowed to sell them to people 18 years old and up, but he chooses not to.

Dowdy said he believes that many people who make the laws about guns don’t really understand how they work.

Mann said politicians on both sides of the aisle need to work better together.

“Our system is broken, and as a result, we're getting kids having to be taken out of fourth-grade classrooms in body bags,” Mann said.

Other people we spoke to said they don’t think that assault-style rifles belong in households at all.

Some think the background tests should be better. Others suggested that anyone who buys a gun should undergo a mental health examination.