Texas lawmakers ask Governor Abbott to call special session on gun violence

From left, Samuel Lerma, Arzetta Hodges and Desiree Quintanar attend a vigil for victims of the deadly shooting that occurred earlier in the day at a shopping center Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio state Reps. Diego Bernal and Roland Gutierrez are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session to address gun violence after a mass shooting claimed 20 lives in El Paso on Saturday.

Gutierrez took to Twitter and sent out a news release with the call to action for his fellow lawmakers.

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“I am urging every member of the Texas Legislature to demand the Governor to call an emergency special session," Gutierrez said. "We must address the gun violence happening in our state. Enough is enough."

Gutierrez said in the news release that the state "must do better," adding that the only way to make meaningful change is "at least hosting hearings and open debates on several topics."

While pointing to recent mass shootings in Texas, Gutierrez said immediate action is necessary.

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 "When 26 people were killed in Sutherland Springs it wasn't the right time for an emergency special session and when 10 people including 8 kids were killed at Santa Fe High School it still wasn't the time for an emergency special session, but I am hoping that after at least 20 people were killed in El Paso we can finally agree that we must take immediate action," he said. "Therefore, I am requesting a special session be called to address the gun violence happening in our state."

During a vigil outside the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio on Sunday night, Bernal echoed Gutierrez's sentiments.

"The last thing that we need right now is patience," an impassioned Bernal said. "Because, yes, as (Rep. Lloyd Doggett)'s rep said, we can do things at the federal level, but do not be mistaken: We can act as a state right now. There is nothing stopping Gov. Abbott from calling a special session right now."

San Fernando Cathedral

LIVE: We're outside San Fernando Cathedral where hundreds have gathered for a vigil honoring victims of the El Paso massacre. STORY: https://www.ksat.com/news/vigil-to-be-held-at-san-fernando-cathedral-for-victims-of-el-paso-massacre

Posted by KSAT 12 & KSAT.com on Sunday, August 4, 2019

Bernal said that while critics may suggest action on gun laws is politicizing a tragedy, "doing nothing will only guarantee more of this."

"This can be done. We can do this. And we can start it tomorrow. I call on the governor, now, to call a special session," Bernal concluded.