Dwaine Caraway isn't afraid of guns. In fact, he's a big supporter of the Second Amendment, something he made clear Monday morning at City Hall. The Dallas City Council member owns guns and thinks his constituents have the right to do so, too. He just doesn't want the National Rifle Association holding its annual convention in Dallas in May, not when the gun rights organization refuses to support any meaningful changes in U.S. gun policy, despite a spate of mass shootings across the country over the last six months.
The most recent was last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17.
"I have five guns. One in my car and one in every room in my house," Caraway says, "but I'm saddened that every time we turn around we have some type of gun violence. Gun violence. When you look at what is being done — it's absolutely nothing."
Before the NRA comes to town, Caraway says, the organization needs to "come to the table" and meet with elected officials about assault weapons, something the longtime Dallas City Council member says no one needs to own.
"It is a tough call when you ask the NRA to reconsider coming to Dallas, but it is putting our citizens first," Caraway says. "Who needs an AR-15 to go hunting? Who needs an AR-15 to protect their house? They talk about mental illness. Yes, mental illness is an issue, but it's not just an issue that should only be associated with guns. At the end of the day, we need to connect the dots. The NRA needs to step up to the plate and show leadership. Elected officials are receiving dollars from the NRA, and they're afraid to set policy and to set necessary gun rules."
After a 19-year-old gunman allegedly opened fire in Parkland last week, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings blasted politicians for their inaction on gun control, calling for the immediate creation of a blue ribbon panel in Washington.
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"I'm so frustrated with the leadership of this country. It's like every time this happens, they're deer in the headlights. And all they can say is, 'Our thoughts and prayers,' and 'This is pure evil,'" Rawling said. "Kids are dying, people. Don't elect people who won't do anything about it."
Despite his anger over the shooting and those that happened before it, Rawlings said Thursday through a spokesman that he has no plans to try and stop the NRA from coming to Dallas.
Caraway talked around questions about what actions he and the rest of the City Council might take, should the NRA not meet his conditions, saying that the decision was up to the individual conscience of the each council member.
"I am certain that we need to reconsider them coming here, even if we lose money" Caraway said. "All money is not good money. Children's lives, citizens' lives and people's lives are greater than any dollar amount."