Final gun violence town hall focuses on public safety, policy

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A series of town halls focused on gun violence ended Thursday with the third and final one held at the Urban Ecology Center at Phil Hardberger Park.

District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez first announced the town halls after mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

Thursday’s meeting focused on public safety and policy.

State Rep. Ray Lopez was at the town hall and made it clear he wanted a special session called to address gun legislation. He said regulations would require funding but went on to say the money is there.

There where so many people were in attendance that some were lined up outside.

Pelaez kicked off the town hall off with statistics, as he has done in past town hall meetings.

Lopez, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and council members Jada Sullivan, Melissa Havrda and John Courage were in attendance.

Ideas included the topic of background checks and gun buyback programs.

“Councilmen who were present, I think they did a wonderful job presenting what they have proposed so far, but I would have really appreciated hearing more about what the next step is, and I don’t think that is clear. I think there needs to be more discussion about it and there needs to be more community involvement in the decision-making process,” said Kyle Rogers, an attendee.

A voluntary city gun buyback program was proposed recently but was not backed by San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. The plan is still in the early stages.

Some people in the meeting called a buyback program a slippery slope.

A special session has not been called by Gov. Greg Abbott, but special committees have been formed to address gun violence.

The entire purpose of the series of town halls was to bring forth different viewpoints regarding the topic of gun violence.

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