Texas Legislature forms committees tasked with studying solutions to combat gun violence

By Sarah Acosta - Reporter, Lee Carpio - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Recent mass shootings in Texas have resulted in an outcry to Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session to do something about gun violence. Instead, he issued eight executive orders aimed at stopping potential mass shootings last week.

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In addition, two committees were created in the state Legislature, one in the House and the other in the Senate. They were asked to study gun violence over the next 90 days and make recommendations to the governor and lieutenant governor.

“It's more than a crisis, but it's a crisis not just in Texas but across the country,” said Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, District 120.

There are 13 people on the state House committee and nine on the state Senate committee. 

Sen. Donna Campbell, from New Braunfels, is part of the Senate committee. Gervin-Hawkins is the only San Antonio representative to be part of the House committee.

“What I love about it most is that we're now taking a proactive role in looking at those things that we can do,” Gervin-Hawkins said.

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Both committees have been asked to study ways to keep firearms from felons and the effectiveness of current laws. This will include studying how to strengthen background checks, especially when it comes to private gun sales, which was reportedly how the Odessa shooter obtained a weapon.

“The background issue has to be addressed,” Gervin-Hawkins said. “We've got to tighten up any loopholes that exist.”

One of the other House members in the committee includes Rep. Brooks Landgraf, from the Midland-Odessa area. In a Facebook post last week, he said he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and that he is open to listening to ideas and suggestions to confront gun violence in Texas.

Gervin-Hawkins said something must be done about the sale of assault weapons. She said she wants to talk to hunters and gun supporters to make sure all sides are heard.

In San Antonio, the third and final District 8 town hall meeting on gun violence will take place next week.

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