We are long overdue for legislation on gun safety. We must require permits to purchase firearms, contingent on 1) completion of firearm training and education, and 2) passing a universal background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. We must give private sellers access to this system and require them to use it.
And we must require a Firearms Transaction Record form so that firearms can be tracked through each sale. We must also require NICS to check every prohibited buyer category in every sale. We must implement an identity verification system in NICS to prevent the use of fake IDs in the purchase of firearms.
Finally, we must limit magazine capacity.
Even if these policy changes prevent only 10 percent of our nation’s more than 33,000 annual gun deaths, we would still be preventing the equivalent, in loss of life, of the 9/11 attacks — Every. Single. Year.
DARIN MOORE, AUSTIN
Sen. Ted Cruz is misleading Americans by indicating Democrats want to end the Second Amendment. Why does he lie like this on Fox News?
I am a native Texan and I am a Democratic gun owner. I just wonder how many of us are out here?
For Cruz to tell the story he tells is nothing more than fearmongering. That’s wrong, and this behavior will cost him the election in Texas. The tea party days are over, and they failed miserably.
I am going to make sure that all my neighbors know that I want reform.
Shame on Ted Cruz for once again deciding to divide us.
JAMIE MOORE ELLIOT, DRIFTWOOD
It’s time for a public health solution to gun violence.
Currently, we rely primarily on individual-level solutions to try to prevent mass murders and other instances of gun violence. Unfortunately, these methods fall short because they rely on numerous individuals to close gaps that could be closed, or narrowed, with a population-level solution.
We already have a model for these kinds of restrictions. Age requirements, tests, practice and waiting periods are required for anyone who chooses to drive a car, and penalties are imposed on those with even the slightest infraction.
The majority of Americans, including gun owners, support background checks for all gun buyers, federal mandatory waiting periods and bans on the sale of high-capacity magazines, yet our legislators fail to act for their constituents.
It’s time. Demand action.
ANGELA ARNOLD, PFLUGERVILLE
We say we are a developed nation, yet we cannot do a thing about reeling in the access to weapons of mass murder. These weapons are not used to hunt anything but other humans.
As a gun owner, it is time we stood up to the great and powerful National Rifle Association. My dad was a lifelong member. It is not what it was. It has become this bizarre organization whose sole purpose is to sell more weapons, hiding behind the Second Amendment.
The time has come to:
- Kill access to the bumper stock
- Make it impossible for someone not sane to purchase a weapon
- Eliminate the access to automatic and semiautomatic weapons
Finally, maybe it is time to treat weapon purchases like we do driver’s licenses: Get liability insurance if you want to legally own one. Are you listening, insurance industry?
DOUG SIMMER, AUSTIN
Perhaps the Honorable Trump, Cruz, Cornyn, Abbott, Patrick and most especially Wayne LaPierre (CEO of the National Rifle Association) would explain to the victims’ parents and the world why Second Amendment rights should supersede our schoolchildren’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
When will our elected officials take steps to regulate the sale and possession of large-capacity magazines and military-grade weapons? When will they quit blaming the symptoms of mental illness as opposed to addressing the root issue, the availability of assault weapons? Our elected officials appear to be obsessed with who pees where or instituting voter suppression, as opposed to protection of our most vulnerable citizens.
GEORGE KUBES, AUSTIN
Another slaughter due to guns. Every politician who does nothing, every parent or guardian who allows access to guns, especially by mentally ill people, and the gun lobby are complicit in these crimes. No more crocodile tears, no more excuses, no more indifference.
Vote out the politicians who do not have the guts to oppose the gun lobby. Let’s clarify the Second Amendment to require that all guns must be registered, no assault rifles sold for “hunting,” and no more excuses. We need to call our congressional representatives and ask them if they are with the schoolchildren of America or the gun lobby.
LOU MCCREARY, AUSTIN
As a gun owner, I find it impossible to say nothing about the almost weekly mass shootings. Fellow gun owners, it is time we stood up to the National Rifle Association and its political lackeys. There is no reason we can’t start to exert some control over the widespread availability of automatic and semiautomatic weapons and 20-round magazine clips. What purpose do they serve? Hunting? Target practice? Really?
Says the NRA: “Guns don’t kill people. We need to report mental illness, not control assault rifles.” Really? Recently, NRA, your political hacks eliminated regulations meant to limit the accessibility of automatic weapons to disturbed individuals. Now just about anybody, crazy or not, can buy dozens of assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
NRA, it is time you take a long look in the mirror and start to recognize who is really responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent children every year.
DAVID MADSEN, AUSTIN
Why has Australia introduced effective gun laws after a mass shooting in 1996 and the U.S. is not even considering strict gun laws?
Corruption. Gun laws work. Claiming the opposite is a politically motivated lie. Voting against gun laws because of money from gun rights “Christians” and the NRA is corruption.
Claiming the problem is mental illness is like stating men harassing and abusing women is due to mental illness – in a way, both are true, but not helpful.
The Second Amendment refers to militias needed to defend the security of a free state, not for people to take the law into their own hands. If we need a militia it would be to drive corrupt, dictatorial politicians out of our governments.
HEINZ AESCHBACH, PRESIDENT OF HUMANE CIVILIZATION WORLDWIDE, AUSTIN
As the total of mass shootings in the United States climbs into the high teens in this early part of the year, our citizens, organizations and especially those elected to represent us must take a renewed stand against the availability of assault rifles to anyone who can pass a so-called background check.
These weapons have their use in both law enforcement and military situations, the only real rationale for their existence. They are not hunting rifles, they are not target-shooting rifles, they are machines for slaughter and mayhem in the hands of people who feel they have been somehow wronged.
As each tragedy occurs, we are told it is too soon to reinstate the ban against assault rifles. It is not too soon, and it is a question that should have been asked and answered long ago.
Where are our leaders?
KENT DIDRIKSEN, GEORGETOWN
Rep. Carter, and Sens. Cruz and Cornyn,
I’m writing, I guess, to congratulate you on the latest mass shooting that you helped facilitate. I’m referring to the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., because by the time you read and reply to this, chances are good that another shooting will have overshadowed it.
Most Americans, myself included, want there to be fewer mass shootings, and an overwhelming majority think that civilians should not be able to buy military-grade guns. It’s clear that you disagree. You can always change your mind and enact sensible gun control on weapons of war.
I look forward to your form letter response ghostwritten by your National Rifle Association owners.
DAN BIVENS, ROUND ROCK
Why do civilians own assault weapons? I can see no logical reason. No whimsical exception.
I just watched the video taken by a student in the classroom where so many children — yes, children — died. I heard the terrified cries as these children encountered their dead and dying classmates while being safely led to waiting families. I can only imagine what they must have seen of these classmates as they exited the school.
I propose this video be required watching, full sound on, for all current and prospective members of the National Rifle Association. Assault rifles must be used only by qualified military.
LEIGH VAN KIRK, AUSTIN