Local legislators want gun legislation on state, federal levels

State senator, congressman held joint town hall meeting Saturday

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter, Joe Herrera - Photojournalist, Rob Garza - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Two local representatives say they are looking to move forward at gun legislation on the state and federal levels following mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa.

Following a town hall meeting Saturday in San Antonio, both state Sen. Jose Menendez, D-26, and Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-TX 35, spoke about passing new laws to clamp down on gun violence. 

Menendez and other Texas Democrats called on Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this week to convene a special session to address gun violence. Without a special session, the state legislature will not meet again until 2021.

"The crisis is now. These shootings are happening way too often. We need to do something today. I think we owe it to the citizens of Texas to have a safer Texas," Menendez said. 

Abbott has so far rejected the call for a special session. On Thursday, the day after a letter calling for the session was delivered to him, Abbott signed eight executive orders in response to the El Paso and Odessa shootings.

The orders mostly deal with reporting or identifying suspicious activity, and none of them mentions guns. 

Menendez does not believe the orders will make Texans much safer.

"We want to do universal background checks. We want to do red flag laws that make us safer ,that when someone can report someone's danger - a danger to themselves or others - we can intervene."

Doggett also said he hoped Congress would deal with gun violence in the near future.

"We've acted in the House, but we need Senate action. We need President Trump to embrace universal background checks," Doggett said.

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