U.S. Rep. Steve Womack fielded questions pertaining to a wide range of subjects as part of a town hall meeting at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith on Tuesday.
In light of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 dead this weekend, Fort Smith resident Maureen Didion asked Womack if he would support stronger background checks for people looking to purchase guns, and if he would support a complete ban on "assault type" weapons.
Womack said he would like to see what the background checks are. "I'm not interested in allowing the federal government carte blanche to be able to determine who and who cannot benefit from the Second Amendment, okay, or take advantage of their rights under the Second Amendment ..." Womack said.
One cannot possess automatic weapons, which Womack said are true assault weapons, unless he or she has a federal firearms license. Semi-automatic weapons, however, are legal for people to possess.
Elaborating further on his stance on background checks, Womack said every shooting is going to be different. However, they have some commonality in that there is some kind of a weapon or device involved and they are all perpetuated by who Womack called "sick people," citing the El Paso and Dayton shooters as examples.
Womack said he supports a discussion taking place about what could be done in a meaningful way to limit access to firearms like the ones they used in the recent shootings.
"I know there are a lot of people that think we've got to go after the weapons ... but I believe there is a much larger issue at work here, and I think it's the heart," Womack said.
Womack said he believes some of this has to be fixed in the home, church, public schools and other places.
Others in attendance asked Womack about a wide range of topics, including military spending, Social Security, President Donald Trump and climate change.
The town hall was the first of four the lawmaker is hosting throughout Arkansas' third congressional district.