Senate Dems: We demand an emergency special session on gun violence

·2 min read

We first offer our deepest condolences to the families and community who lost precious loved ones in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School last week. Losing innocent young children and their teachers is incomprehensible. The members of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus stand in solidarity with this community during this painful time.

We owe it to the people of Uvalde to take swift legislative action. We urge Governor Abbott to immediately call an emergency special session to address gun violence in Texas in the wake of this latest gut-wrenching tragedy. We demand that this special session include passage of legislation that would:

People leave the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting earlier in the day at Robb Elementary School, Tuesday, May 24 in Uvalde.
People leave the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting earlier in the day at Robb Elementary School, Tuesday, May 24 in Uvalde.
  • · Raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21;

  • · Require universal background checks for all firearm sales;

  • · Implement “red flag” laws to allow the temporary removal of firearms from those who are an imminent danger to themselves or others;

  • · Require a “cooling off” period for the purchase of a firearm; and

  • · Regulate civilian ownership of high-capacity magazines.

Texas has suffered more mass shootings over the past decade than any other state. In Sutherland Springs, 26 people died. At Santa Fe High School, 10 people died. In El Paso, 23 people died at a Walmart. Seven people died in Midland-Odessa. After each of these mass killings, the same politicians have held press conferences and roundtables promising things would change. After the slaughter of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, those broken promises have never rung more hollow. The time to take real action is now.

“Thoughts and prayers” are not enough. Lamenting the fact that “evil” walks among us is not enough. Laying the blame at the feet of a broken mental health care system–that state leaders continue to underfund severely–is not enough. We need evidence-based, common sense gun safety laws. Without a doubt, if at least some of the measures noted above had been passed since 2018, many lives could have been saved.

We must address the physical and mental health of our state, and confront the public health issue at handgun violence. Guns should not be easier to access than health insurance, baby formula, voting, books and enlisting in the military. We are not trying to take away Second Amendment rights. Instead, we are asking for reasonable laws or restrictions that will create a safer Texas for all of us.

Taking action requires bravery. The proposed solutions are not new. We cannot wait for another tragedy to occur. Texas has the power to protect its people; it is time we do so.

We demand Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Speaker Phelan step up and join us in passing common sense gun safety measures that are supported by a vast majority of Texans and could help keep a gun out of the hands of the next would-be mass shooter.

Submitted by these members of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus: Chair Carol Alvarado (Houston), Vice Chair Nathan Johnson (Dallas), César Blanco (El Paso), Sarah Eckhardt (Austin), Roland Gutierrez (San Antonio), Juan 'Chuy' Hinojosa (McAllen), José Menéndez (San Antonio), Borris Miles (Houston), Beverly Powell (Fort Worth), Royce West (Dallas), John Whitmire (Houston), and Judith Zaffirini (Laredo).

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Senate Dems: We need an emergency special session on gun violence