Going beyond “thoughts and prayers”

There are things we could do to reduce the prevalence of gun violence, if we wanted to.

At a news conference organized by Texas Gun Sense at the state capitol on Wednesday, state Reps. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, and Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth, urged state leaders to declare gun violence a public health issue and reform existing gun regulations.

Nevárez proposed limiting the ability of Texans to “walk around” with long rifles, such as the AR-15 variant used by the shooter Sunday. Texas has allowed long gun owners to openly carry their weapons for decades.

Collier urged state leaders to declare gun violence a public health issue, comparing it to other health crises such as obesity and the opioid epidemic. She also denounced those, such as President Donald Trump, who have focused on addressing mental health issues following the shooting rather than guns themselves. While acknowledging mental health plays a critical role in gun violence, she said focusing entirely on mental health is a “distraction” from the role of easy access to guns and “stigmatizes” those with mental health issues.

“If any other consumer product resulted in a fraction of the injuries and deaths [that guns do],” Collier said, “we would be scrambling to find solutions.”

State Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, was also at the news conference and spoke briefly about a list she authored of steps to prevent gun violence. Her suggestions include increasing public education on safe gun usage and requiring a license to carry long guns.

The press conference came a day after state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, urged state leaders to create a bipartisan commission tasked with recommending “common sense” gun reforms ahead of the next scheduled legislative session in 2019.

Like Rep. Nevárez, I don’t think we need a commission to come up with reforms. There are plenty of good ideas already out there. If you can assure me that any reforms put forward by such a commission would get the support of the leadership in the next session, then sure, go ahead, but usually the creation of task forces like that are a substitute for action, not a catalyst for it. I don’t expect even weak sauce like that to get support as thing stand today, so the path forward, as always, is to elect more legislators like Collier, Nevárez, and Hinojosa. At the end of the day it’s a numbers game, and our numbers need to be bigger.

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2 Responses to Going beyond “thoughts and prayers”

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    The reason the gun regulators aren’t able to gain any traction is because they don’t want to actually negotiate anything. They want to take away, but they don’t want to give anything in return. Remember the hubbub about bump stocks? Personally, I’d never even heard about such a thing, but suddenly the push was on to take them away, to put that industry out of business.

    OK, I’m a reasonable person, I’d be willing to consider doing just that, but in return, what am I getting out of this deal? Up to now, the answer has been, nothing, which is why gun regulation is a non starter.

    If you want “common sense” gun laws, why not allow “silencers” to be sold over the counter? Why not make CCW 50 state reciprocal? Start offering up something to the pro gun people and maybe there can be some compromise.

  2. neither here nor there says:

    I want to own a NUKE, everyone should have one for protection. Who would mess with you if they knew that they would die if they did so?

    A 50 caliber gun is also needed and no less than 50 grenades.

    No background checks nor licenses should be required, the second amendment doesn’t state that only mentally fit people can own weapons nor does it prohibit felons from having weapons.

    Common sense to me.

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