Short trip east reveals strong opposition to assault weapon regulations

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SARASOTA – Senator Dianne Feinstein's newest gun control proposal doesn't come as a surprise to many, but it's still ruffling the feathers of gun owners around the country and on the Suncoast.

Since the Newtown, CT tragedy, most of our coverage has been focusing on the gun owners and the gun shops in Sarasota and Bradenton. So we wanted to try something different. We took our camera way out east, into a rural area that you could call a real piece of Americana. It's there you'll find a lot hunting, and a lot of staunch supporters of the Second Amendment.

Just east of Parrish in Manatee County, there really isn’t a whole lot to do out there but watch the trucks carrying oranges, and occasionally the trains.

There is however a trailer-like building with a big American flag sticking out from a rain gutter. For locals, Perkins Firearms Shop is perhaps the most popular business around, especially as of late. “They believe in their gun rights. They want the ability to own whatever gun they want and how much ammo to carry,” says owner Stan Perkins.

He is a former cop and someone who does not support any bill banning assault rifles and high capacity magazines. “It would just be devastating, not only as a business, but personally messing with our Second Amendment rights. I’m hoping the house will stand their ground and not pass that bill.”

Jason Burdick, an owner of seven guns -- including the type used in the Newtown tragedy -- hopes Perkins is right. “There is not a single firearm I own that wouldn't be covered with the ban.”

He believes the new legislation won't do enough to deter more scenes like the one in Connecticut. “People say there is no use on the civilian side for an assault rifle. There is no use on the civilian side for these high performance motorcycles or a Ferrari, but we still have them, even with people getting in high speed accidents all the time.”

As the debate continues, the flag continues to fly on the side of the building. No matter how you feel about gun legislation, the Stars and Stripes serve as a reminder that we live in a democratic society where conversation is welcomed.

According to the latest polling numbers from Gallup, 60% of Americans are in favor of an assault weapons ban. In addition, 54% of Americans agree with limiting the sale of ammunition magazines to those with ten rounds or less.