Presidential candidates' gun rights views impacting voters

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - Gun rights have become a hot topic in this year's presidential race, with the two candidates squaring off on gun issues during the crucial debates.

Both President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney acknowledged the need to uphold the Second Amendment, but also to regulate guns, in Tuesday's debate.

"Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced, but part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence," Obama said.

"I'm not in favor of new pieces of legislation on - on guns and - and taking guns away or - or making certain guns illegal," Romney said.

Both candidates said a focus on supporting current law enforcement, and education would help reduce violent crime, but didn't say they would make any changes to current laws a priority.

"The time to run to either the far left or the far right is over. And now the time is to run back to the middle and gather up the independents and the moderate folks that are still there, both candidates tried to do that last night," WEAU political analyst John Frank said.

"Anytime you start messing with the bill of rights, there's going to be angry people that are upset about it. Clearly, the economy is the number one issue, but gun control issues are definitely there and people are single issue voters on that issue alone," C & C Pawn part-owner Chad Olson of Eau Claire said.

"(The National Rifle Association) is out big time for Mitt Romney ... This issue does have legs. Take a look at the battleground states. There are a lot of hunters out in Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado; those are all states with a lot of hunters," Frank said.

Olson said assault weapon sales have not increased like they did before the last presidential election, but with many concerned about possible changes, overall, gun sales are up.