ANDERSON — Close to 400 Upstate residents participated in a series of discussions of U.S. Constitutional rights to own guns organized Friday by U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R), Laurens.
Duncan dubbed the series, held in Greenville, Oconee, Anderson and Greenwood counties a “2nd Amendment Listening Tour.” He said Monday that he found a large amount of concern for the ability to own guns and fear that the rights might be taken from them during the current debate over gun restrictions following the killing of 26 people at Sandy hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
The series of meetings was held at gun stores in Greenville, Walhalla, Seneca, Anderson and Greenwood.
The congressman said that about 60 people attended the Greenville meeting, 80 in Walhalla, and 200 in Greenwood, the last stop at the end of Friday’s workday. An estimated 30 talked with Duncan at Anderson’s Grady’s Great Outdoors.
Duncan said he opened the meeting telling those present, “I am concerned as I know you are about the assault on 2nd Amendment rights.” The concerns he said come in the wake of actions by New York officials to limit high capacity clips in weapons.. “I believe in a literal interpretation that the right shall not be infringed,” Duncan said.
He said that he he also has concerns about President Barack Obama’s suggestion of acting on gun restrictions by executive order.
The congressman said that the discussion over gun safety should include consideration of restrictions to those with mental illness. “We have concerns about a no-buy list that you might get on and never be able to get off of,” he said. “It is the intent of the person not the ways that it is done,” he said of violent acts.
“I would be supportive of a discussion on mental health issues. How do we handle that? It is a discussion that should happen in state capitals as well as the U.S. Capital,” he said.
As to why the meetings were held only in gun stores, Duncan said. “It is a gun issue.”
“I am proud of the way the people of our state and the people of the Third District have responded, how we are talking and making decisions in a democratic fashion.