KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Don Pind hangs his target, loads his gun and pulls the trigger, he relies on years of experience and training.
Pind is a lead firearms instructor at Claycomo Shooters, which opened Wednesday in Claycomo, Missouri. He said the gun store and indoor range will focus on teaching new gun owners to be responsible gun owners by hosting weekly classes explaining firearm basics, from cleaning and handling to shooting and fixing guns.
He said this focus is needed more than ever because in 2020 the FBI ran more background checks for firearm purchases than in any year since recording began in 1998. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimated that about 8 million Americans bought guns for the first time last year.
“The gun is supposed to make you feel better, that you can protect yourself if need be," Pind said. "If you don’t have the proper training, all it is is a good paperweight."
Currently, neither federal law nor state law in Missouri or Kansas requires a person to take a training course to purchase a gun. Pind said he supports gun owners voluntarily receiving training, but stopped short of saying it should be a legal requirement.
Previous attempts to make training a legal requirement met resistance from lawmakers, who argue such a requirement places an unconstitutional barrier on a person’s Second Amendment right.
Even before that shooting, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two gun control measures on to the Senate for approval. The proposals would require background checks on nearly all gun purchases, including transactions involving private or unlicensed sellers, plus expand a background check review period from three to 10 days.
"There's a lot of solutions. There's just very little political will,” Jackson County, Missouri, Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker told 41 Action News earlier in the week.
She said she believes bans on extended magazines and possibly assault rifles can make a difference in keeping communities safe. She said, for example, law enforcement in Jackson County find extended magazines at crimes scenes, but not bump stocks, which the U.S. banned in 2019.
“Regulation could matter here, it could keep us safer,” Peters Baker said. “It's really a small imposition on those of us who are legal gun owners. We can balance this out. And in the balance, America does not have to live with this type of violence that we experience every day.”
Claycomo Schooters is open seven days a week. Information about the classes it offers is available on its website.