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Mass. Lawmakers Advocate Change After Texas Church Shooting

The tragedy in Texas was a horrible act of domestic terrorism. On that, most everyone agrees. And that is where the agreement ends, with many in the country, like Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, feeling that much of the violence could be prevented with stricter gun laws. Others, meanwhile, say more laws will do nothing.

It was June 2016 that Moulton first walked off the House floor during a moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting, saying he was done with "thoughts and prayers." Seventeen months later, he hasn't back down.

"To say that it won't prevent every tragedy is a total cop out," he said. "Because if it just saves a few lives, it's worth it."

Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners Action League says there is no connection between reduced violence and gun control, and that the problem with gun violence will not change until the country is ready to have difficult conversation about what he calls the human element.

"We have an incredible criminal problem, and that includes terrorism," Wallace said. "But we also, if it's possible, have a much more massive mental health issue."

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey agrees mental health is a problem, but she says the solution must include stricter background checks, a ban on assault weapons and gun safety and prevention education.

"We can do it," she said. "It's just a matter of will."

And for those who say the National Rifle Association has a stranglehold on Republicans in Congress, Moulton is undeterred.

"I'm going to keep fighting like hell every single day," he said.

Moulton delivered a letter today to House Speaker Paul Ryan, calling for stricter gun laws — written, he says, not as a congressman, but as a U.S. citizen.

The representative encourages anyone concerned with gun violence to do the same, since he says it is ultimately pressure from the American people that will make change.

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