AUSTIN, Texas -- State officials are testifying before a Texas legislative committee that’s evaluating issues related to mass violence.
The Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety is meeting Wednesday in Texas’ capital of Austin. The committee meeting comes after August began and ended with two mass shootings in Texas. The issues the panel is evaluating include the role of digital media and video games.
Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw says law enforcement is concerned about racism and extremists’ use of technology to recruit people.
Critics on the left believe lawmakers aren't focused on the real problem. Hilary Whitfield of Moms Demand Action said the real issue is the lack of gun regulations.
"The problem isn't violent video games and it's not people wearing masks and it's not even really a mental health issue," Whitfield said. "The gun violence problem in America and in Texas is caused by easy access to guns by people who want to do harm to themselves and others."
The Travis County Republican Party held its GOP Girls with Guns event at the same time across town at The Range at Austin. The women there believe lawmakers shouldn't focus on the technology around this violence as much as mental health issues that could lead to violence. Deputy Executive Director Lauren Day said she and a number of the women at the event could name a number of reasons they'd focus on before digital media.
"Most people don't know their neighbors," Day said. "We need to keep an eye on our communities, our schools, our grocery stores, our movie theaters, and we need to be aware of our surroundings."
A shooting on Aug. 3 in the border city of El Paso left 22 people dead. Authorities say the gunman told officers he targeted Mexicans.
On Aug. 31, a gunman killed seven people while driving in the area of Odessa and Midland, firing randomly.
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The Associated Press contributed to this story.