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Community members hold forum on gun violence

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The Austin chapter of held a forum Sunday afternoon at the Texas AFL-CIO building in downtown Austin. Organizers say the meeting was to address gun violence in the Austin community and throughout the nation.

"It's worst than your most horrific nightmares."

John Woods lost his girlfriend and several friends in the Virginia Tech shooting. Woods says he wants universal background checks for all firearms purchases.

"I support the 2nd amendment and I'm a concealed handgun licensee. 40% of gun sales in this country are happening without any back ground checks at all.

Christ-Singh Khalsa, an NRA member, told panel members he is against anyone owning an assault weapon for personal use.

Khalsa said, "I am not in favor of private ownership of people firing something like this," as he held up .50 caliber machine gun round.

While some say it's great that members from different organizations are coming together to talk about gun violence, not everyone liked what they heard.

Michael Cargill owns a local gun shop. He left the meeting early.

"This isn't a talk, this isn't a debate. This is a one sided conversation. They don't want to hear the other side. The only thing they want to do is take law gun owner's handguns away from them," said Cargill.

Cargill did not address the forum, but told fox 7, more gun control is not the answer.

"Crack cocaine is illegal and that's banned. I can walk outside the Austin Police Department, go around the corner and buy me a couple of rocks of crack. The only thing they're going to do is create the biggest underground of purchasing of firearms in this country," Cargill said.

Cargill said mental health should be the focus. That's where counselor Kirsten Brunner comes in.

Bruner recently developed a 4-step plan she says will address mental health issues related to gun violence.

"It is so important that community members and families, and parents, are paying attention to the mental health issues going on in their own sphere of influence and helping those people to get help."

Approximately 30 people were in attendance at Sunday's meeting.

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