SAN ANTONIO - UPDATE: State Rep. Roland Gutierrez started a petition to pressure Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session to address gun safety in Texas.
Gutierrez released the following statement Wednesday:
“I don't doubt that the Governor takes this issue seriously, but his proposed roundtable is not a serious proposal to try and solve the issue. The families of Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe, and El Paso deserve up or down votes on commonsense policy proposals ... We need to let him know that this isn't 1 or 2 house members asking for action and a special session, it's thousands of Texans who want their kids to be safe at school, and church, and Wal-Mart."
The El Paso mass shooting is the third mass shooting in Texas in the last two years following the church shooting Sutherland Springs and school shooting in Santa Fe.
State Rep. Roland Gutierrez is asking Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session to pass gun safety legislation.
The next time lawmakers meet in Austin will be in January 2021. Gutierrez said that’s not soon enough.
Abbott was one of the first state officials that addressed the media after Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso in which 22 people were killed and more than two dozen were injured.
“I think we need to focus more on memorials before we start the politics,” Abbott said Saturday.
"When 26 people were killed in Sutherland Springs, it wasn't the right time for an emergency special session and when 10 people, including eight kids, were killed at Santa Fe High School, it still wasn't the time for an emergency special session,” Gutierrez said. “Thoughts and prayers just simply aren't enough anymore. You know, people have said, ‘You're politicizing this issue.’ We're not. This is making sure we have sound public policy.”
He said relief will only come if Republicans and Democrats work together.
“I understand this is Texas, and I understand people don't want to be infringed on their Second Amendment rights, but Republicans and Democrats can have common sense measures on this issue, and we can stop some of this madness,” Gutierrez said.
Much of the legislation Gutierrez wants to address in a special session has already been considered in Texas.
One of those pieces of legislation is a red flag law, which allows police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. In the past, the law has garnered bipartisan support nationwide.
“Red flag (law) is something we can do very simply, and yet, that particular measure died in committee last session. Should we have magazines or clips that are limited in number? There are 16 states that have magazines that only hold 10 bullets,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez is currently in Tennessee for the three-day National Conference of State Legislators.
“There are many different types of legislation that we compare from other states. From guns to cannabis all the new laws out there … (we) basically learn from the best ideas that are out there,” he said.
KSAT reached out to the governor’s office for a response to the call for a special session. We have not heard back.
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