New survey: Most gun dealers support expanded background checks - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

New survey: Most gun dealers support expanded background checks

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

More than half of those gun dealers are in favor of comprehensive background checks. That's according to a new survey from UC Davis' Violence Prevention Research Program.

The group surveyed gun retailers in 43 states in sold at least 50 guns a year.

The report also found support was greatest in three areas: anyone with an armed robbery conviction, serious mental illness especially with a history of violence and anyone with a history of alcohol and drug abuse.

The authors say they believe this is the first of it's kind when it comes to getting the perspective on gun shop owners on federal gun policy.

Hyatt Gun Shop in west Charlotte has been in business for 50 years. Larry Hyatt, the owner there told me their bottom line doesn't trump public safety.

"We don't want to get someone approved that shouldn't," he said. "That sale is not important to us."

The biggest problem today, said Hyatt? Making sure gun dealers have all the information.

"Just like what happened at the [Washington, D.C.] Navy Yard," he pointed out. "He slipped through the system. We need less people slipping through the system. It protects the public and it protects our business."

But gun owner Reese Fair wants to make his rights aren't trampled on in the process.

"It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world but I do believe the government should not have a strong hand," he said.  

Back to Hyatt who also believes background checks may not be the only solution.

"When I came here [as a teenager], they didn't have background checks," he said. "And you know the crime, I don't think it was as bad as it is today. We certainly didn't have school shootings. So they're maybe other factors involved then just guns."

The survey was conducted in 2011 -- before the mass shootings in Colorado, Connecticut and most recently at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. last week. The researchers add concern among retailers could be higher now.

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