SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County leaders on Friday held a press conference to demand action on gun violence following the mass shooting in Uvalde at Robb Elementary that killed 19 students and two teachers.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, District Attorney Joe Gonzales, Sheriff Javier Salazar and county commissioners called on Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session and pass measures to reduce both gun violence and mass shootings.
“Over the last two decades, school children have died from guns more than on-duty police officers and active military, combined,” Wolff said. “... A special session needs to be called now. We don’t need a study, we’ve been through this for years and know what needs to happen.”
Wolff laid out a handful of specific policies he said the Legislature should pass immediately:
- Raise age from 18 to 21 to buy semi-automatic weapons
- Pass a red flag law that allows a hearing to take guns away from people believed to be threats
- Require background checks on all gun sales
- Require a license and training for carrying firearms in public
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales echoed Wolff’s comments.
“We are tired. We are tired of replaying this over and over. We need to do something, and do something now,” he said.
Gonzales said beginning Monday, the DA’s office will move to destroy every firearm involved in successful prosecutions.
“We have to do something folks, to get these guns off the streets,” he said.
The district attorney said his office is also making it a priority to take cases and make arrests of people who are in possession of a switch that turns a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon.
“We are willing, able and eager to take those types of cases,” Gonzales said. “The only reason to have that, is to convert that weapon into an automatic weapon.”
Bexar County Commissioners Rebeca Clay-Flores, Precinct 1, and Justin Rodriguez, Precinct 2, said they would push measures through commissioners court next week, including:
- Ban gun shows on county property, including Freeman Coliseum & AT&T Center
- $100k funding for gun locks and distribute
- $1 million for public awareness campaign on gun violence
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said red flag laws are a must and that they will be exploring and expanding new methods of preparing the community and its first responders to on how to avoid and address tragedies.
“Our SCORE units, our special operations teams, will continue to train local school and church staff neighborhood groups and all of our civilian populations in active shooter response and stop the bleed training,” Salazar said. “We’re currently working to host training classes, for school districts in surrounding counties over the summer months. And we’re also reaching out to our area school districts with schools in unincorporated areas, to help them assess and address needs for increasing physical security.”
Salazar said the assessments and joint physical drills will be conducted in conjunction with the staff of the schools.
Ronald Stewart, a trauma surgeon and chair of surgery at University Hospital and UT Health San Antonio who treated patients from Uvalde and the Sutherland Springs mass shootings, also called on elected leaders to pass common sense gun reform.
Congressman Joaquin Castro and representatives from San Antonio Moms Demand Action also spoke.