Outside City Hall Thursday afternoon, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo spoke passionately in support of universal background checks for gun purchases.
"Universal background checks is about keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and those who are not authorized by law to bear firearms," said Acevedo. He called out lawmakers who are against legislation requiring background checks. "For those of our political leaders that say in one breath that they stand for law and order. And then turn around and say that they do not support background checks that will absolutely keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, they're being disingenuous. It does not add up."
Chief Acevedo and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell spoke as part of National Day of Action Against Gun Violence. The event in Austin was just one of about 100 across the country Thursday. John Woods was also in attendance. His girlfriend was killed in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech University.
"You do anything you can to get them back, and when you learn that you can't, you do what you can to make sure no one else has to go through the same thing," Woods said.
But, Michael Cargill, gun rights advocate and owner of Central Texas Gun Works, says requiring background checks for all gun purchases infringes on citizens' rights.
"If there's a firearm I'm going to purchase and keep it at my home, why should I have to register that firearm or do a background check if I'm getting it from a private individual? There's no reason. It's staying at my home. So we're taking the constitution and putting it in the shredder," he said.
In response to that, Chief Acevedo says, "It's not about keeping guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens and I'm sick and tired of people lying to American people."
Supporters of stricter gun laws will continue to push for what they say is simply common sense.
"We believe that gun ownership is an individual right. And we believe that with rights come responsibilities, like ensuring the person you're selling a gun to can pass a background check," said Woods.