AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - It's an ongoing debate. "Today we're going to be talking about H.R. 8 which is the universal background checks bill." Saturday neighbors, politicians and students gathered in Central Austin to discuss gun violence in the U.S.
Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization co-founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, teamed up with March for Our Lives and the Town Hall Project to spread awareness.
Selina Eshraghi is a survivor of gun violence and says she believes that strengthening gun regulations can help save lives. "For me personally I joined March for Our Lives Austin because over year ago I lost my best friend to suicide by firearm so gun violence affects us in a variety of different ways. For some of us it's mass shootings, school shootings, for some of us it's accidental shootings," said Eshraghi.
The initiative is a series of 'Gun Safety Town Halls' that are taking place in three other cities.
A panel of gun violence prevention experts, local advocates, gun violence survivors, and lawmakers spoke to a crowd of listeners. The panel took time to answer questions from community members about steps that could be taken to make the country safer and strengthen America's gun laws.
Members on the panel urged listeners to turn to lawmakers to pass a bipartisan background checks bill. The bill would require a federal background checks on all firearm purchases including private transactions.
Just recently, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released the latest edition of its annual gun law scorecard, which grades and ranks each state on its gun laws. Texas received an "F."
That's something advocates say they hope to change. "We are not anti-gun we're not against you buying one we want you to do it in a responsible manner and store it safely and be approved to have one," said Matthew Hogenmiller, with March for Our Lives Austin.