Ryan Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan, owner of A-1 Gunrunners, sells the AR-15, a popular target of gun control legislation.

In the wake of another mass shooting, President Joe Biden is calling on the U.S. Senate to pass enhanced gun control measures that would ban “assault weapons” like those sold in a gun shop just outside St. Joseph.

A common target of assault weapon legislation: the AR-15.

“It should not be a partisan issue,” Biden said. “This is an American issue. It will save lives, American lives.”

Ryan Sullivan, owner of A-1 Gunrunners, a hunting and fishing store on the Andrew and Buchanan County line, told News-Press NOW Tuesday he doesn’t use the term “assault rifle.”

Sullivan does sell the AR-15 at his store.

“I don’t say ‘assault rifle,’ I say ‘firearm,’ that’s what it is,” Sullivan said. “The firearm is here to protect your life. It’s here to go hunting with, it’s here to do everything.”

The suspect in a recent mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, allegedly purchased a variant of the AR-15 six days before the shooting, according to a court document.

On Tuesday, Biden pushed the Senate to pass legislation, that’s already cleared the House, that would impose background checks on nearly all firearm sales.

The legislation includes private sales, which generally don’t involve a background check.

Biden also is urging an assault weapons ban that would target rifles like the AR-15. As a senator, Biden did see a ban implemented nationwide in 1994, but it expired 10 years later because it was not renewed by Congress.

Any effort to enact further legislation faces an uphill battle, with any gun control legislation likely facing a 60-vote total to clear the filibuster in the Senate.

“We can save lives increasing the background checks like they’re supposed to occur and eliminating assault weapons and the size of the magazines,” Biden said.

Still, Sullivan sees any further gun control as the government sticking their “foot in the door” so that “it can never be closed.”

“Unfortunately, if you give them a little tiny inch, they’ll take a mile,” Sullivan said.

To buy a firearm in Missouri from a store, a person must pass a background check, Sullivan said. However, in a private sale taking place outside a store, no background check is needed.

There’s another wrinkle, though, as a gun dealer may sell a firearm without the background check if the FBI doesn’t complete the check within three days.

One proposal before Congress would extend that deadline to 10 days.

Matt Hoffmann can be reached at matt.hoffmann@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NpNowHoffmann.

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