San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg hoping for special legislative session on gun violence

Council voting on resolution at Thursday's meeting

By Deven Clarke - Crime and Justice Reporter, Adam B. Higgins - Photojournalist, Kolten Parker - Digital Executive Producer

SAN ANTONIO - On Thursday, San Antonio City Council members will vote on whether Governor Greg Abbott should call a special session on gun control.

The resolution, proposed by Mayor Ron Nirenberg, comes in the wake of the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

“It's become clear that it's an untenable epidemic for our country,” Nirenberg said. “I personally support common sense gun legislation and specifically one of the items on the resolution is in addressing universal background checks.”

MORE: Nearly 20 state lawmakers ask Gov. Greg Abbott to call special session on gun violence

Part of the resolution drafted by the mayor’s office mentions the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, which left 26 people dead and wounded 20 others back in 2017. Another portion highlights how Abbott responded to that shooting by entertaining the idea of “red flag laws,” which he said could've prevented firearms from making it into or staying in the wrong hands.

However, there was some push back by gun rights supporters, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who said such laws, which have been passed in some Republican-controlled states, could infringe on the Second Amendment. Ultimately, the Legislature shied away and instead expanded access to guns. Nirenberg now hoping the governor revisits the issue of gun violence in a special session.

“The biggest actions on gun violence in our communities can come from the state and federal governments,” Nirenberg said.

READ MORE: Texas relaxed gun laws after recent mass shootings

Johnny Castro, who manages Nardis Gun Club, is a certified Department of Public Safety firearms instructor specializing in training for active shooter events.

“We've talked about different things that could help in the short term, and even in the long term,” Castro said, adding that he strongly supports universal background checks.

“A lot of it is sharing information with other agencies, or agencies also being able to share information with us, at the level of ATF, our background data,” Castro said.

Both Castro and the mayor agree, responsible law abiding citizens should maintain their right to bear arms.

The City Council will be voting on the resolution at its meeting Thursday morning. Even if it passes, which the mayor believes it will, only the Texas governor has the authority to decide if and when a special session is called. Without a special session, the Legislature won't meet again until 2021.

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