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Mississippians debate the answer to gun violence and mass sh

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Mississippians debate the answer to gun violence and mass shootings
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Larry Cowart, owner of Cowart Arms & Ammo in Pearl
MPB News

Mississippians disagree about what needs to happen next when it comes to gun laws in America. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

Two mass shootings in the span of 14 hours over the weekend has spun a national conversation about access to firearms. Larry Cowart is helping a customer at his gun shop, Cowart Arms and Ammo, in Pearl. A lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, Cowart says government shouldn't get involved.

"It's a sad situation but why penalize the law abiding citizen. That's what Washington is trying to do. Well that's not right. That's not how this country was built," said Cowart.

A bipartisan proposal in the U.S. Senate is gaining momentum following shootings in Texas and Ohio that left 31 people dead. The plan would create a federal grant program to encourage states to adopt “red flag” laws to take guns away from people believed to be dangers to themselves or others. It's a plan Cowart calls crazy.

"Let's say that John Doe has a problem with John Smith. Well John Doe can lie about what John Smith is doing and they can actually go in and take that poor individual's rights away from him," said Cowart.

Mary Helen Able leads the state division of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She and others are calling on the Mississippi congressional delegation to vote to pass "red flag" laws and legislation enforcing background checks on each gun sale.

"I mean obviously no one law can prevent all gun injuries and gun deaths, but, those things in states that have red flag laws and have background checks on every gun sale, we see significant differences in the number of suicides by guns, homicides by gun and mass shootings as well," said Able.

Mississippi does not have a red flag law. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.