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Great Falls residents discuss gun rights and reform efforts (video)

Posted at 12:48 PM, Aug 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-18 16:15:11-04

GREAT FALLS — Within the last three weeks, there have been three mass shootings across the country – first in California, then Texas, and then Ohio.

President Donald Trump suggested stronger background checks might be the answer.

“I’m looking to do background checks. I think background checks are important. I don’t want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people, or people with rage or hate – sick people. I don’t want to -- I’m all in favor of it,” President Trump said.

These tragedies have continued a national conversation in which both sides of the gun control debate are pressing for a solution to these shootings.

Some members of the Great Falls community responded to the President's suggestions and are making their voices heard. On Saturday, the Great Falls chapter of Moms Demand Action hosted a rally at Gibson Park to express their views and propose action.

Great Falls' Moms Demand Action leader Helena Lovick believes the key to reducing shootings is by keeping criminals from obtaining guns.

“A lot of people say, you know, it's not the gun it's the person...absolutely. then, let's stop criminals from getting guns with the background checks,” Lovick said.

Gun shop owner Tom VanHoose of Highwood Creek Outfitters says it's not that simple.

“The current background checks systems do not allow us to know if a person has been treated mentally...if someone has been adjudicated mentally defective, then we would have that because it's in the court system. but if it's not in the court system, we have no way of knowing,” VanHoose said.

There's one thing both sides agree on: guns themselves are not the issue.

“We're not against gun ownership at all,” Lovick said.

Finding a solution will require communication between gun safety advocates, administrators of background checks, and legislators alike.

“We should be able to have a dialogue,” Lovick said.