Local gun control opponents, supporters wait to hear president’s State of the Union address

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INDIANAPOLIS– The last several weeks have been a mixed bag at gun stores across the nation and in Central Indiana.

On one hand, the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has revitalized the argument for tighter gun control laws. However, on the other hand, that same argument has led to increased sales for gun stores.

“We usually carry about 250 guns,” said Scott Daugherty, who owns Fort Liberty Firearms in Avon.  “Right now I’ve only got about 40, and some of my shelves are empty.”

While the increased business is good for Daugherty’s bottom line, it also signals a sense of urgency as more Americans expect tighter laws to be enacted.

President Obama is expected to outline his proposals for more background checks, ammunition capacity limits and other measures when he addresses a joint session of Congress this evening.

Advocates on both sides of the gun control debate will be watching and listening closely to what President Obama says.

Daugherty and his wife Lisa make it no secret which side they’re on.

“It’ll be a lot of the same rhetoric, about gun control and why we need it,” Daugherty said.

Daugherty and other gun control opponents are quick to point out that gun sales have been increasing since President Obama took office.  More than 65 million guns have been sold across the U.S. in the last four years, which is more than four times the number of babies born in the U.S. during the same time frame.

Lisa Daugherty, who co-owns Fort Liberty Firearms, said the increased sales are a sign of public opinion.

“I think it’s a hard issue with people,” Lisa Daugherty said.  “I think you can’t legislate evil people to be good.”

But can you make it more difficult for evil people to harm others? That’s the question at heart of the gun control debate.

President Obama will have help in the audience Tuesday night as he highlights the recent shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago’s Hyde Park. Pendleton’s family will be sitting with Michelle Obama in the gallery.

For Republicans, Ted Nugent is expected to be in the audience.  He recently said he would end up dead or arrested if new gun laws are passed.

On Wall Street, recently rising stocks of gun makers were stalled Tuesday as investors waited to hear what the president will say in his address.

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