orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

January 21, 2013

Texas advocate calls President's gun safety proposals "common sense"

AUSTIN, Texas — President Obama has unveiled a plan aimed at curbing gun violence in America. The package of legislation for Congress includes a ban on high-capacity magazines, the reinstatement of a ban on some assault-style weapons and a proposal to have mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales.

Tommie Garza, once the executive director of the now-defunct Texans for Gun Safety, calls the measures reasonable, even for a strong Second Amendment state like Texas.

"We definitely are and we have to keep that in mind. It's going to have to be a balance, a good balance and just bringing good sensible ideas to the table, on all sides."

The National Rifle Association says law-abiding gun owners should not be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen, and the organization claims the push is more about attacking the Second Amendment than keeping children safe.

Heather Martens is also a gun safety advocate in mid-America. She says the Second Amendment and public safety are not contradictory. She says moving forward with these plans is something many gun owners can get behind.

"I grew up in a hunting family, myself. I learned to shoot when I was 10 years old. The NRA I knew as a child is not the NRA of today. NRA lobbyists today represent the firearms industry, especially manufacturers of assault weapons."

President Obama also announced 23 executive actions, which include a directive to strengthen the national criminal background-check system. Martens likes the move to allow for the study of gun violence at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Congress has prevented these studies for a number of years now. President Obama said 'We don't benefit from ignorance.' We need to find out what's really happening out there in order to understand how to better prevent gun violence."

For every 100,000 people in Texas, there are about 11 firearms deaths per year, slightly higher than the national average.

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