By David Lowe
In a recent visit to Lampasas, District 25 U.S. Representative Roger Williams vowed to defend the Second Amendment against what he described as unconstitutional efforts to restrict firearms and gun magazines.
Williams spoke at the local gun and archery store Nocked & Loaded, where many in the congressman's audience voiced concerns about proposed new federal gun control measures.
The speech in Lampasas marked Williams' sixth recent gun-rights press conference in District 25, which stretches from the southern part of the Austin metro area to North Texas.
The Republican congressman criticized President Barack Obama's gun control proposals, which include expanded background check requirements for gun purchasers, limits on the bullet capacity of magazines and a ban on certain semiautomatic firearms often described as "assault weapons."
"Rather than restricting our rights, the president needs a different solution to reducing violence," Williams said.
Key steps, the congressman said, include addressing concerns about mental health and restoring "a culture of life." Williams urged his audience to tell others that all people are made in God's image and deserve respect "in all phases of life."
Bans on high-capacity ammunition magazines will not stop criminals, he said, arguing that magazine limits could hinder people's ability to protect their homes against intruders.
Williams also argued against a federal ban on assault weapons -- as was in place from 1994 to 2004. He also criticized the term "assault rifle," arguing that although certain firearms look similar to military guns, many "assault rifles" use small-caliber bullets and are popular for hunting.
Guns should not be banned simply because of their appearance, the congressman said.
Because Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives -- which must reach an agreement with the Senate on legislation -- Williams said he does not expect Congress will enact stricter gun control measures.
"I don't see any way that anything that comes over from the Senate will see daylight in the House," he said.
Frequently invoking the Constitution in his promises to oppose gun control, Williams urged constituents to convince others of the importance of gun rights.
The congressman also took questions from the audience.
Amanda Wade, who owns Nocked & Loaded with her husband Johnny, asked if it is true that the Department of Homeland Security is buying billions of rounds of ammunition. Retailers across the United States have reported shortages of many types of bullets in recent months.
Williams said Homeland Security officials have reported the department is not intentionally aiming to take ammunition off the market. The department customarily purchases a large volume of ammunition every five to six years, the congressman said.
Another questioner asked if the government will make people register to buy ammunition.
The Ammunition Background Check Act of 2013, by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), has been referred to a committee, but Williams said he doubts Congress will pass tighter gun control restrictions like the ammunition act.
Williams did say he is concerned about calls for stricter registration requirements.
"This registration is a serious thing," the congressman said. "Who knows where those lists are going to end up?"
Williams said he wants those who support gun rights to be aware and active, but not afraid.
"I feel comfortable that at the end of the debate we will have won, and we can move on to other things that are important for our country," he said.