Gun debate comes to scene of Texas mass shooting

The American flag raised above the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs also flew over the U.S. Capitol the day new background gun check legislation was signed into law.

"I believe we will save lives, it’s not mere symbolism,” Senator John Cornyn (R) Texas.

The Senior Texas Republican in the U.S. Senate traveled to Sutherland Springs to talk about the Fix NICS Act which he drafted. It is designed to improve the screening of those who buy guns by reforming the National Instant Background Check System.

The act provides grant money for states to buy equipment to upload information about people prohibited from buying firearms; due to mental illness or criminal records. It also punishes federal agencies that fail to enter data in a timely manner.

"Sometimes, it strikes me as symbolism, the “something” people want us to do, but I was determined to make sure it was something that would actually save lives,” said Cornyn.

Pastor Frank Pomeroy endorsed the new law as a positive step forward. 

"Every day is a day down that path of healing and the more we can see God being glorified and good coming form that helps to all healing,” said Pastor Pomeroy. 

The sanctuary where Pastor Pomeroy once preached remains a memorial to church members who were killed back in November. The gunman used high powered weapons that he should not have been allowed to purchase after being kicked out the air force.

Critical information had not been entered into the NICS.

There are those who are tired seeing memorials to victims of gun violence. They want action. There have been marches recently with calls for gun bans and major reforms. The man who confronted the Sutherland Springs gunman responded to those marches and if there was a way for him to join them.

"Something, maybe, but not a 2nd Amendment something,” said Stephen Willeford 

Back in November, as the gunman emerged from the church, Willeford forced him to flee by using the type of assault style rifle some want to ban.

In his assessment,  gun control advocates have forgotten that. 

"Common ground as far as dealing with mental illness, and dealing with the background checks making sure the bad guns don’t get guns, if they'd find common ground on the training of teachers, and putting metal detectors up, at the doors and schools and stuff that would be common ground that would make a difference,” said Willeford.

The Sutherland Springs survivors hope the tragedy here will eventually provide some common ground for the nation. But resolving the divisive gun debate - may be like their own efforts to heal; a bitter journey that will require a lot of time.