By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 9, 2012

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Michael Juan and Rommel Conclara, both 27 and members of the U.S. Marines, come to Jackson Arms, a Filipino-owned indoor shooting range, for target practice.

Juan said, “I like to do it for fun, as well as use it for home defense, personal defense. We live in tough times now, so we need extra safety.”

Gun sales all over the country spiked to a 14-year high in December, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) processing over 2.7 million background checks through its national database.

Gun laws, which regulate the sale, possession and use of firearms and ammunition, vary per state. In California, all firearm sales must be completed through a dealer, including those bought through private and gun show sales. Handgun purchases require a handgun safety certificate and proof of residency.

The California Department of Justice will also conduct a background check on each buyer at a fee, with a 10-day waiting period.

Authorities said the record-setting sales were not only the result of two deadly shootings in December, but also of the Obama government’s push for stricter anti-gun legislation.

Juan and Conclara have opposing views on tighter gun control measures. Juan said, “To make it stricter, in my opinion, may not necessarily make it harder for somebody to obtain a weapon. If somebody wanted a gun, they can get a gun, regardless if it’s legally obtained or not.”

Conclara, on the other hand, believes there should be an annual background check on gun owners. He said, “It’s like having a car. You have to do an annual registration. You should be able to pass the tests. You should be checked upon to know that the weapon and the people around you are in good hands.”

Brian Normandy, a security officer at Jackson Arms said it’s all about responsible gun ownership. He concluded, “Firearms are not (just) inanimate objects. Once you use it, it’s the person that’s responsible to operate the firearm in a responsible fashion.”

You may contact Henni Espinosa at for more information.

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