Top lawmen on guns

January 30, 2013

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Better background checks needed

Granbury Police Chief Mitch Galvan and Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds seem to have similar views on recent proposals from President Obama for federal gun control.

Both Deeds and Galvan indicated that the changes needed to prevent shooting outbreaks should involve effective background checks to help foil those bent on committing violent crimes, or who are dangerous because of a mental illness.

Galvan said President Obama’s proposals in gun control changes “are a hasty reaction to (a) complicated issue.”

Deeds said he doesn’t agree with bans on assault-type rifles or magazines with larger capacity.

“I believe in the U.S. and Texas Constitution and the Bill of Rights including the rights of the people to keep and bear arms,” Deeds said. “As a sheriff in Texas, I will do my job to protect our citizens from those that want to go around or try to change the Constitution.”

Galvan made the point that “the only people likely to obey any new laws restricting the access to firearms or ammunition are law-abiding citizens,” and the recent proposals “aren’t likely to have a significant effect on curtailing violent crime.

“It seems that criminals will always have access to guns, regardless of what restrictions are put in place, because they are not likely to go to the gun store to get them.”

The issue of mental illness has become a topic of national discussion as part of the overall gun debate.

However, that doesn’t seem to have picked up much traction in terms of real solutions.

Galvan indicated that a better job needs to be done in “identifying the people who have been diagnosed with any form of mental instability, mental illness or personality disorders or who show symptoms or signs of such a condition. Currently, these individuals are not restricted from legally buying a gun, and I think they should be. But this type of information is currently not made available when the federally required background checks are completed at the time of purchase.”

Deeds stated he thinks “those that live in the big cities back East don’t really understand needs, wants and rights that we have and deserve to keep out here in mainstream America,” – although he would like to see better screening as well as effective gun safety training.

“I agree with better background checks and issues with mental people that want to purchase guns or worst of all have them now,” the sheriff added. “It is not the gun that kills or hurts people, it is the person that pulls the trigger. People that want to own guns should have that right, but I also believe they need the proper training to know and understand how they work along with safety of operation and being considerate of others, so better training and screening would be good for all.”

Galvan said he thinks requiring people to register all guns won’t accomplish anything.

“I think this because, once again, only the law-abiding citizens would comply if it actually came to that,” Galvan stated. “In my opinion, this issue is less about guns and more about the ruthless, cowardly and violently disturbed people that commit these violent crimes.

“People need to understand that a firearm is simply a tool that can be used to achieve a certain result. The focus should be on the individual user of the tool as opposed to the tool itself.”

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