Gun Control Debate Raises Tension At Town Hall Meeting

The topic of gun control in Texas can be pretty divisive. This much was apparent at a town hall meeting in Liberty City recently when two moms who had both experienced gun violence spoke to their local Congressman Steve Stockman.

Congressman Stockman has made a name for himself recently.

Last week at the State of the Union address, his guest was staunch gun advocate Ted Nugent. So when it turned out he was having a town hall meeting in Liberty City, just outside of Beaumont, it was a safe bet gun control would be discussed. The mood of the 100 or so people in the local civic center was relatively jovial until that topic came up.

Congressman Stockman made his stance very clear.

“I can tell you from me travelling around the district. Our district doesn’t want gun control and we like our independence and we’re not gonna bow.”

One constituent of the primarily Republican district, Kim Marlow, lost her daughter in a shooting incident in 2011. She wouldn’t consider herself in agreement with her fellow constituents and said as much when she spoke to the Congressman after the town hall about universal background checks and stronger gun laws.

“If it kept one person from doing harm to another one?”

Stockman: “We’re not endorsing or fighting the current laws. I’m not going to put more laws when we’re not endorsing the ones we do now.”

Marlow: “We’re trying to make the laws stronger than what they are so that they can be endorsed.”

Stockman: “It doesn’t matter. They’re not being enforcing the ones now.”

The laws that the Congressman is referring to are the current background checks for undocumented workers.

On the other side of Marlow trying to get the Congressman’s attention was another mom whose child had been killed. Pam Odem’s son was shot by a felon and she agrees with the Congressman.

“It was at the wrong place at the wrong time. But he was killed by someone who should not have had the gun to begin with. So as far as my stance on this gun legislation — the people that’s gonna be distraught about all this is the people that are legal.”

It was clear from these exchanges that not everyone is on the same page when it comes to gun control. However there was one thing they came together on, starting with Odem.

“Maybe we need to key in more on maybe helping mentally challenged people.”

To Congressman Stockman:

“Address the crazies. They need to be in prison or dealt with severely.”

And finally to Marlow.

“If the mental health issue was addressed. If laws had been in place prior to May of 2011, the man who murdered my daughter should not have been able to buy a gun. He had documented illness.”

And so the debate continues.

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