Texas Democrats push for gun control measures

Texas Democrats push for gun control measures

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
May 31, 2022

Following the Uvalde school shooting that left deadly shooting at a Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two adults dead, Texas Democrats are pushing for gun control measures against Republican opposition.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke confronted state leaders last week during a news conference, telling his Republican opponent, Gov. Greg Abbott, he was “doing nothing” and saying the mass shooting was “totally predictable.” He also released a two-minute online ad blasting Abbott for signing a bill that would allow Texans to carry a handgun without a license or training in last year’s legislative session, which followed mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa in 2019.

“While it might not be the easy or politically safe thing to say, I don’t believe any civilian should own an AR-15 or AK-47,” O’Rourke says on his official website.

O’Rourke has been consistently outspoken about his approach to assault weapons. In 2019, he attracted the ire of Republicans after declaring mid-debate, “Hell, yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15,” weeks after a gunman targeting Mexican immigrants killed 23 people at a Wal-Mart in O’Rourke’s native El Paso.

The party’s candidate for lieutenant governor, Mike Collier, has blamed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for loosening gun laws in the state instead of tightening them after previous mass shootings. On Saturday, all 13 Texas Senate Democrats sent a letter to the governor demanding a special session to pass gun control legislation that raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 years old. They are also calling for ‘red flag’ laws that allow a judge to temporarily remove firearms from people who are considered an imminent threat to themselves or others.

“‘Thoughts and prayers’ are not enough,” 13 Democrats wrote in the letter. “We need evidence-based, common sense gun safety laws.”

For Republicans, the answer lies in more security in schools and increased access to mental health care.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer laid the groundwork on Tuesday to bring votes on legislation expanding criminal background checks and lengthening the waiting period for gun buyers who are flagged for further investigation.

“We are going to vote on gun legislation,” Schumer said Wednesday afternoon. “The American people are tired of moments of silence, tired of the kind words offering thoughts and prayers.”

Democrats will need 10 Republicans to vote on their side to advance the measures. Some Republican leaders indicated that the Uvalde shooting had not changed their opposition to tighter gun control. At a Friday NRA convention in Houston, former President Donald Trump said classroom doors should be “hardened” and all schools should be staffed with police or armed guards, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz claimed gun control advocates held an “indulgent ideology that ignores reality” due to their privileged lifestyles. Rep. Dan Crenshaw on Sunday told CNN that he is against red flag laws, universal background checks and raising the minimum age to buy the weapons. Instead, Crenshaw pushed for increased security in schools.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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