The deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, just like others before it, is renewing the debate on gun control.
Proponents say it’s time to hold lawmakers accountable after what they say is the 162nd mass shooting since 2009 and the eighth so far in 2017.
“It’s not just, ‘Yeah, it happened on the Las Vegas Strip,’” said Houstonian Darius Sanders. “It can happen anywhere.”
That’s why Sanders says he spends his time teaching customers at HTX Tactical how to safely use firearms.
“All I want is more people, whether it’s your family or other people’s family, to make sure that anybody in your surrounding is protected as much as possible,” said Sanders, a DPS-certified firearms instructor with Sanders Tactical Performance.
Sanders says he supports universal background checks, better mental health awareness and other measures, but doesn’t believe that alone those alone will prevent mass shootings.
“It’s going to happen,” Sanders said. “The bad guys are going to get their hands on guns. We just have to have more good guys with guns to basically push that resistance back.”
Chief Art Acevedo of the Houston Police Department said Monday he doesn’t believe guns themselves are the problem, but rather “guns in the wrong hands.”
“What this shows to us is that we as a nation need to do a better job of keeping firearms, especially fully automatic firearms, in the hands of Americans of sound mind,” Chief Acevedo said.
Chief Acevedo also criticized The Hearing Protection Act, a bill moving through Congress and co-sponsored by U.S. Representative John Carter, a Republican from the Austin area. That bill would make it easier for citizens to buy silencers for weapons.
“I’m calling on all Americans who are responsible gun owners to weigh in,” Chief Acevedo said. “How do silencers help anybody other than people who want to hurt us?”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday he believes people must work together to overcome hatred and improve what he calls a “toxic environment” in society.
“I wish we could say we need to do one, two, and three, but quite frankly, I don’t know the answer,” Mayor Turner said. “It could happen anywhere. So let’s continue to move forward, but let’s also continue to be very prayerful.”
Alexandra Chasse, a Houston member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told KHOU she doesn’t believe there’s a one-step solution to stopping mass shootings. However, she believes the best place to start is by requiring universal background checks.
Chasse was also critical of The Hearing Protection Act, as well as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill. The latter legislation, introduced by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), would let concealed carry permit holders exercise the privileges of their home state in another state with concealed carry laws.