Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe and most recently — El Paso and Midland-Odessa. Across the nation, city names have become trending hashtags as acts of mass violence have rocked communities, and claimed the lives of innocent people.

August was bookended by two shootings in Texas, killing 22 people in El Paso, and seven in Midland-Odessa. The immediate outpouring of support came with calls for action to prevent future senseless acts.

The same happened nearly two years ago after the Sutherland Springs shooting. We learned the shooter had a history of violence and a conviction, which should’ve prevented him from purchasing firearms. But this information was never uploaded to the criminal background check databases, and as a result, he was able to purchase four firearms.

Ten days after that shooting, I introduced the bipartisan Fix NICS Act, now law, to fill the gaps in our background check system. It’s led to a roughly 400 percent increase in record submissions from federal agencies, and prevents violent criminals from purchasing firearms illegally.

It’s time to once again pass legislation to reduce mass violence in our country.

This week I introduced the Restoring, Enhancing, Strengthening, and Promoting Our Nation’s Safety Efforts — or RESPONSE — Act to prevent attacks and make our communities safer.

First, this legislation takes aim at unlicensed firearms dealers who break the law. The Midland-Odessa shooter failed a background check when he attempted to buy a firearm from a licensed dealer but was still able to purchase a weapon from someone who never registered as a firearms dealer, and therefore, was able to skirt the background check requirement.

The RESPONSE Act creates nationwide task forces to investigate and prosecute those illegally selling firearms and those who provide false statements during a background check.

Second, this bill improves the quality and availability of mental health care. We must do more to identify and support vulnerable individuals who could pose a danger to themselves or others. We know the majority of gun deaths are suicides, and while mental illness isn’t the prevailing cause of mass violence, enhanced mental health resources are critical to saving lives.

Third, the RESPONSE Act takes steps to increase the safety of our students by promoting best practices and internet safety policies to help schools better identify and assess students whose behavior indicates a threat of violence.

Finally, this legislation encourages online platforms to share information with law enforcement concerning acts of mass violence, hate crimes or domestic terrorism. They already have this ability during emergencies and to fight child abuse. This simply expands the scope of information they can share.

I spent time with families and victims in El Paso and Midland-Odessa following the shootings and promised them I would work with my colleagues on real solutions.

No person, family or community should endure the heartbreak caused by the recent mass shootings in Texas. It’s time to answer their call for action and pass the RESPONSE Act to keep our communities safe from mass violence.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate finance, intelligence, and judiciary committees.

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(47) comments

Emile Pope

Without universal background checks your proposals are useless...

Carlos Ponce

Looks like Emile does not know there are already universal background checks already in place.

Emile Pope

Apparently not since the NRA opposes them...

Carlos Ponce

Actually the NRA had a hand in drafting the background check laws and regulations.

Emile Pope

More made up garbage. The NRA is totally against universal background checks.

Carlos Ponce

The NRA opposes any NEW background check legislation but had a hand in designing that which is now on the books. What is NOW on the books is sufficient if followed to the letter and intent of those laws.

May 27, 1999 - NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre testified before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime: "We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone.That means closing the Hinckley loophole so the records of those adjudicated mentally ill are in the system. This isn't new, or a change of position, or a concession. I've been on record on this point consistently, from our national meeting in Denver, to paid national ads and position papers, to news interviews and press appearances.Chairman [Bill] McCollum knows we worked with him on instant checks, gosh, more than a decade ago. We think it’s reasonable to provide for instant gun checks at shows, just like at gun stores and pawn shops."

So background checks were implemented following the Sandy Hook shootings. The NRA was satisfied with what is on the books but the anti-gun lobbyist want more. As stated early the NRA is opposed to the NEW proposes. What is on the books is sufficient IF CARRIED OUT AS WRITTEN.

Emile Pope

Wrong...enough said.

Robert Braeking

More lip service from our legislators. In an attempt to appear to be doing something positive Mr. Cornyn is introducing 'reiteration legislation'. We don't need more laws. We need to bring the Father of morality back to the classroom.

Carlos Ponce

"We need to bring the Father of morality back to the classroom." Agreed, but the "Father of morality" was expelled from public schools. And there are those who believe morality should not be taught in schools.

Charles Douglas

Mr. PONCE is right on, and when the Father of morality was ushered out ....the Father of confusion, anger, pride, and destruction, rented a moving van and MOVE himself into the place vacated! It is one or the other, there is no safe zone in between good and evil or UP there, or DOWN yonder! Somebody will get It! To many smart people on this forum not to.

Bailey Jones

I look forward to your next clever acronym.

Casey Alan

This all sounds good. I heard it before during the Obama administration. To take it a step further no selling guns over the Internet. No selling parts to build guns over the Internet. Background checks needed at hunting shows and gun shows before gun purchases. If someone sells a gun in a garage sale there should be papers to file and backgrounds to check. Everyone owning a gun should have that gun registered with the state. If their gun was used in a crime because they did not store it properly they should have somewhat accountable. Gun owner should be required to take safety lessons. And if you buy an unusual amount of bullets in one month you should be investigated.As far as the “background” checks that are in place, they are a joke. A background check should be ran on everyone even if you do have a license to carry because of now they do not. I know this because it happened to me. I Purchased a gun as a gift for someone, next day got it. They ran their so called background check. I thought the gun need it to be registered with the police or state and in the persons name but I didn’t have to unless I wanted to. I have nothing against guns. But there is such thing as commonsense laws and the way I see it there is no commonsense involved.

Emile Pope

Didn't you hear? There are universal background checks already in place...

Carlos Ponce

For those who do not understand the Texas gun possession and background checks check out:

Don Schlessinger

"Gun owner should be required to take safety lessons." Please give us a few examples of "safety lessons" that you approve of.

Diane Turski

I suspect that the timing for Senator Cornyn to start acting like he is interested in appearing to voters as if he is doing something substantial about gun violence is merely part of his campaign to be re-elected. Since, he has accomplished nothing substantial on this issue during this 6 year term as our Senator, even after all these mass shootings, why would anyone believe that he would do so if he was re-elected to another 6 years? We have better options for representation! Vote him OUT in 2020!!

Carlos Ponce

Major Mary Jennings Hegar (US Air Force) will give him a good run for the Senate seat but she's just a Chuck Schumer puppet.

Charles Douglas

I like Cornyn because he and Cruz supports that BAD MAN IN DC who dropped a dime on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi!!! Cornyn & Cruz played a part in that because they supported getting our military back to being second to none!!!! God bless our military, America, Israel, and that BADDDDDD MAN in DC!!!!

Robert Braeking

I wonder if I would have to be subject to a background check if I own a lathe and mill which are capable of making my own gun? How far can this go? The firearms are not the problem any more than driving too fast is the fault of the car that does it. People are naturally evil. I think that if the government wants to solve gun violence it needs to figure out how to install a moral compass in all of us.

Emile Pope

Ridiculous argument...

Carlos Ponce

Not really, Emile. With a 3-D printer one can make a firearm.

Paul Hyatt

None of the crap that Cornyn is wanting to do will stop the mass violence? I wish that he and others who "think" that they know the answer would look to Chicago to see how well gun control laws that are against the Constitution are working. They are not.... Chicago and most of your democrat led cities have the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation and yet they have the highest murder rates in the nation. Guns are not the problem as NONE of my guns have ever shot anyone nor have they threatened anyone, and that includes the one that I carry most times as the only time it comes out is when I am putting it up. Again guns are not the problem, the lack of morals is the problem and you can tell that by all of the thugs who are shooting our thin blue line almost everyday....More laws will not stop this carnage as the laws that we have on the books are not ever being upheld at this time....So sad that so many are so confused about on object that does nothing by itself, all the gun control group led by the MSM and the democrats are trying to do is disarm our nation which will take away ALL of our rights that are guaranteed in our Constitution, for once the 2nd Amendment is gone ALL other rights will soon follow....

Jim Forsythe

The strict gun laws in Chicago are no longer, and 60% of the guns in Chicago crimes, come from other states. Trying to say that the reason Chicago has a problem is because of gun control is no longer true. One only need to think about Texas, and how we handle gun control. How many problems have we had with the misuse of guns, and our response has been? We have had shootings at churches, schools, malls, Fort Hood military base and more. If we change nothing , nothing is going to change. Is that OK ?

Remember that old requirement that gun owners in Chicago register their firearms with the city and obtain a permit? Well, that's gone. The Illinois General Assembly, which passed a concealed carry law in 2013, people can walk the streets of Chicago with a gun attached to their waist . New York, in fact, has stricter gun laws on the books than Chicago. And guess what? Its homicide numbers are heading toward historic lows. Los Angeles has some pretty tough gun laws too. Its homicide numbers also pale compared with Chicago's.

Sixty percent of firearms (in Chicago) recovered by police originated from a dealer outside Illinois, research showed, with one out of every five guns coming from Indiana. Weapons recovered in Chicago were also traced back to Mississippi, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Texas.

The vast majority of crime guns in Chicago, were handguns possessed by adults who were not the original purchaser of the firearm. But a uptick of juvenile offenders has trended upwards over the past four years – from nine percent in 2013 to nearly 13 percent.

Carlos Ponce

"We have had shootings at churches, schools, malls, Fort Hood military base" ALL MENTIONED, including Fort Hood, were GUN FREE ZONES. Can't get any more Second Amendment restrictive than being GUN FREE. "Let's make a law that bans guns - no more shootings, YEAH!" Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Jim Forsythe

What is Stupid, stupid, stupid, is that status quo is OK. Not thinking, what we are doing now is not working.

If you are happy with the results that we have now, carry on with yourself.

If you are not happy with how we handle the control of guns, let people know. If this is how you feel, then we have missed the mark and we must try something else. If you are not happy with the killings, then help with changes that make a difference. More excuses, means more death. If nothing is changed, you can count on more headlines like these below.

Aug 04, 2019 It was a particularly deadly 24 hours in the United States as a shooting spree early Sunday morning in Dayton, Ohio, which left at least 10 dead, including the gunman, took place less than a day after a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and killed at least 20 people. The violence in Dayton, which took place on the 216th day of the year, marked the 251st mass shooting of 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit organization counts as a mass shooting any incident in which four or more people were shot or killed, without including the shooter.

Oct 27, 2019 At least 2 killed and 14 injured in Texas mass shooting.

You may argue about the definition of mass shootings, but they are still deaths.

Carlos Ponce

"what we are doing now is not working." What is not working is that persecutors and District attorneys are letting too many get by. George Soros is financing the campaigns of those "who want to reduce incarceration, crack down on police misconduct and revamp a bail system they contend unfairly imprisons poor people before trial." See "Here’s why George Soros, liberal groups are spending big to help decide who’s your next D.A."

What else is wrong? SCOTUS members who ruled in Roper vs Simmons that those who commit mass murder while under the age of 18 cannot be executed. The Santa Fe killer cannot be executed no matter how many he killed.

Jim Forsythe

At this time, Galveston county is revamping the bail system.

Should we not be pushing to get the Mental Health help that some need? Executing a person, does not prevent mass killings.

Carlos, at what age would it be to young to be executed? Should Mitchell and Andrew have been executed? Mitchell Scott Johnson (born August 11, 1984) and Andrew Douglas Golden (May 25, 1986 – July 27, 2019) were the 13 and 11-year-old perpetrators, respectively, of the massacre on March 24, 1998, at Westside Middle School and were convicted of five murders and ten assaults. If you think they should have been executed, is there a age too young? Dedrick Darnell Owens 6 years, 9 months and 24 days ===Buell Elementary School, Mount Morris Township, Michigan killed one. Is he too young to be executed?

Carlos, are you against the ruling because it said that a minor must be protected, according to the Eighth Amendment?

In Roper vs. Simmons: the majority, said "The Eighth Amendment's prohibition against 'cruel and unusual punishments' must be interpreted according to its text, by considering history, tradition, and precedent, and with due regard for its purpose and function in the constitutional design. Rejection of the imposition of the death penalty on juvenile offenders under 18 is required by the Eighth Amendment. Capital punishment must be limited to those offenders who [citing Atkins] commit 'a narrow category of the most serious crimes' and whose extreme culpability makes them 'the most deserving of execution.'"

Bailey Jones

"who want to reduce incarceration, crack down on police misconduct and revamp a bail system they contend unfairly imprisons poor people before trial." - OMG, where do I sign up? Soros, you say? Does he take contributions?

Carlos Ponce

"Carlos, at what age would it be to young to be executed?" They used to leave it up to local officials whether the young perp could be tried as an adult. That system worked. Some 12 year olds were tried as adults, other 12 year olds as children in the past. It was considered on a case by case system. Then leave it up to a jury to decide the punishment. Maturity can not be measured on a calendar.

Carlos Ponce

"OMG, where do I sign up? Soros, you say? Does he take contributions?" So Bailey wants to obliterate prisons too and release all into society. AOC has a Galveston counterpart. Look at the prisons. All claim innocence. AOC and Bailey want killers, rapists, arsonists, sex offenders freed. what if they move into your neighborhood?

Bailey Jones

Carlos, I believe that's what logicians call a "straw man" - "the fallacy of refuting an extreme version of somebody's argument, rather than the actual argument they've made". I assume that this must be a habit you've picked up from a lifetime of arguing with teenagers.

Yes, I'm in favor of criminal justice reform - including the First Step Act, signed into law by your president. Yes, I oppose police misconduct. And yes, I oppose a bail system that unfairly imprisons poor people before trial. Proudly so.

Carlos Ponce

If you're posting about excessive bail, the Constitution already covers that as a no-no in the 8th Amendment: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." So you're saying poor people should never be charged bail. Just let them free or with one of those ankle bracelets that can easily be removed by the unscrupulous.

Jim Forsythe

Carlos, you would execute a 12 year-old? Even when a minor could be executed, very few were. As the SCOTUS has ruled that under 18 can not be executed, you will never have to set on a case and say, execute that young person.

Historically, few juveniles have ever been executed for their crimes. Even when there have been juveniles sentenced to death, few if any executions have actually been carried out. In the United States for example, youths under the age of 18 were executed at a rate of 20–27 per decade, or about 1.6–2.3% of all executions from 1880s to the 1920s. This has dropped significantly when only 3 juveniles were executed between January 1977 and November 1986

Historically, few juveniles have ever been executed for their crimes. Even when there have been juveniles sentenced to death, few if any executions have actually been carried out. In the United States for example, youths under the age of 18 were executed at a rate of 20–27 per decade, or about 1.6–2.3% of all executions from 1880s to the 1920s. This has dropped significantly when only 3 juveniles were executed between January 1977 and November 1986.

Carlos Ponce

"Carlos, you would execute a 12 year-old?" With the right evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt, upon recommendation of the prosecuting attorney and a unanimous decision among 12 jurors.

Carlos Ponce

Jim, you would execute a pre-born? How about one that survives an abortion attempt? That is the consensus of the Democrat Party. That's what Democrat Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants. And the New York State Senators applauded passage of the Reproductive Health Act by a Democrat majority 38-24. The RHA allows for the termination of fully formed babies. Only three Democrats Senators voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

Jim Forsythe

Aabortions have nothing to do with "My plan to reduce mass violence" and SEN. JOHN CORNYN. If you want to discuss abortions, send in a letter to GDN.

Bailey Jones

"So you're saying poor people should never be charged bail." There it is again. Seriously, Carlos, step up your game. It's embarrassing.

Carlos Ponce

Really, Bailey, if that is not your position you should say so. Sounds like it is.

Bailey Jones

Carlos - bail should be set for people, rich or poor, commensurate with 1) the likelihood that they are a threat to the community, 2) the likelihood that they won't show up for trial, 3) in an amount proportional to their ability to pay. It's not rocket science, but it does require the ability to weigh circumstances and think judiciously. The cost of bail for the working poor is often beyond their means. So an arrest turns into jail time - even if they are innocent - which leads to loss of employment, eviction, etc. Often the consequences of not being able to afford bail are worse than the consequences of the crime (if, in fact, they even committed a crime). That's an upside down justice system.

Carlos Ponce

Jim, it was you who brought up executing the young. Liberals ignore there is mass executions when it comes to abortions - no due process, no trial by jury. If one cannot condone the execution of someone who performed a heinous act while less than 18 years of age with due process how can one condone the termination of MILLIONS with no due process?

Charles Douglas

[thumbup] ( Jeremiah.1:5) “Before I shaped you in the womb,

I knew all about you.

Before you saw the light of day,

I had holy plans for you" ....I could comment, but what could I add to what GOD has already said so eloquently! I got to say something though. So I will say more of what GOD already commanded. Let it be this, "THOU SHALL NOT MURDER!" ( Exodus 20:13). That includes babies in the belly, on the delivery table, or laying in a cradle. That is God's stated word, so it is my opinion and what I choose to live by, and if necessary die by!

Carlos Ponce

Interesting side note: Father Robert E. Morey of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence South Carolina denied Holy Communion to Joe Biden for his pro-abortion stance. Father Robert offered to pray for Joe.

Jim Forsythe

Since you are in favor of executing a 12 year, do you have a age that is to young to be executed ?

Carlos, you are the one who brought up executing the young, when you wanted to execute a minor.

Carlos said " The Santa Fe killer cannot be executed no matter how many he killed."

Carlos said, "If one cannot condone the execution of someone who performed a heinous act while less than 18 years of age with due process" because it against the law to do so.

This discussion is about reducing mass violence by guns! Unless abortions are done with a gun, abortions are a different topic.

Carlos Ponce

"do you have a age that is to young to be executed" Not up to me. If the prosecuting attorney recommends it, the evidence is there beyond a shadow of a doubt, if TWELVE jurors agree, then so be it. I

Jim Forsythe

You answered the question , you have no age limit for a minor to be executed.

Carlos Ponce

As long as DUE PROCESS is followed, unlike the blanket execution due to abortion - NO DUE PROCESS.

Remember these words uttered by a President: “Now, on the question of limiting population: as you know the Japanese have been doing it very vigorously, through abortion, which I think would be repugnant to all Americans.” - John F. Kennedy

Jose' Boix

Let's see, the Fix NICS Act of 2017 is a United States federal law that passed as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 signed as Pub.L.115-141 by President Donald Trump on March 23, 2018. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), was launched in 1998.

Now we have the just introduced Restoring, Enhancing, Strengthening, and Promoting Our Nation’s Safety Efforts (RESPONSE) Act.

A quick search reveals a host of other similar bills and legislative efforts all developed and discussed as part "the fix to the problem." I think it is time to distill the issues, define "the problem," and develop the one approach that will ensure compliance and enforcement. Having a quantity of "fixes" is not the most effective and efficient path to "the fix." But, I guess that is the "government way." Just my thoughts.

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