Gun violence prevention advocates take to the Capitol

Last session Texas lawmakers passed the Open Carry law as well as Campus Carry. Gun violence prevention advocates say this session it’s their turn. They took to the state Capitol Wednesday to convince law makers to put a focus on public safety.

Wednesday morning Texas Gun Sense supporters visited the offices of state law makers to advocate for what they call common sense policies that will reduce gun injuries and deaths.

"It's time to address the gun violence problem in Texas this session. That we'll really hope they'll turn their eyes to public safety and reducing gun violence in addition to gun rights. There needs to be a balance and that doesn't exist in our views,” said Andrea Brauer, executive director.

Executive Director Andrea Brauer is urging the passage of six bills. Two of which promote education efforts on safe storage.

Susan Nelson says that may have dramatically changed her life. In 1993 she was shot in the back of the head after a robber managed to get a hold of her friend's gun. Her friend was killed.

"People were uneducated then about how to properly store and gun and here we are 23 years later and they're still uneducated and we need some changes and we need some laws to help that,” said Nelson.

This past weekend, police say an Austin man managed to shoot himself with a stolen gun while in police custody.

APD investigated 867 reports of stolen or lost weapons in 2015.

Other bills backed by Texas Gun Sense aim to strengthen background checks, temporarily prohibit those involved in domestic violence incidents from possessing firearms and a crack down on straw purchases.

The group is not anti-gun as illustrated by the participation of gun store owner Johnny Wade. His focus is responsible gun ownership.

"If I were selling cars you would want me to make sure anyone buying a car would have license to operate a car,” said Wade.

State Representative Jonathan Stickland doesn't feel that's necessary. He hopes to bring back what's referred to as “constitutional carry” with House Bill 375 telling FOX 7:

"I am excited to introduce HB 375 that would restore the 2nd amendment rights of all Texans to their originally intended levels. Texans should not have to pay a fee or take a class in order to exercise their constitutional right to self-defense. Could you imagine if we had to do the same thing for our 1st Amendment right to free speech? This bill does not change who can carry, where they can carry, or how they can carry; It simply makes the LTC optional. I look forward to passing constitutional carry this session, and having Texas lead the nation in gun rights once again."

The bill did not make much headway last session. Brauer is hoping it will be stopped again this year.

"We think it's a very dangerous bill and we hope they will not move that bill like they did last session. It hurts gun owners and it's certainly going to decrease public safety,” she said.


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