Texas Democrats urge Abbott to call for special session to discuss new gun laws

·2 min read
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The Texas Senate Democratic Caucus is asking Gov. Greg Abbot to call a special session of the Texas Legislature to discuss laws to prevent future mass shootings in the wake of a Tuesday attack on an elementary school in Uvalde.

According to a letter sent by the group to the governor, they want the session to focus on the following legislation:

  • Raising the minimum age to buy a rifle to 21 (federal law already requires handgun purchasers to be at least 21)

  • Require universal background checks for all firearm sales

  • Create “red flag” laws allowing the government to temporarily confiscate firearms “from those who are an imminent danger to themselves or others”

  • Create a “cooling off” period for purchasing a firearm

  • Regulations regarding civilian ownership of “high capacity magazines”

“’Thoughts and prayers’ are not enough,” the caucus said in its letter. “Lamenting the fact that ‘evil’ walks among us is not enough. Laying the blame at the feet of a broken mental health care system – that you and other state leaders continue to underfund severely – is not enough. We need evidence-based, common sense gun safety laws. Without a doubt, if at least some of the measures noted above had been passed since 2018, then many lives could have been saved.”

Abbott has said that new laws are “absolutely” coming in response to the shooting in Uvalde, which killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school, but has said changes to gun laws in the state will not be on the table. He has previously said legislation he would ask state senators and representatives to consider during a special session would have to do with mental-health care and school safety regulations.

The Democratic caucus says in its letter Democrats don’t think the laws would be taking away second amendment rights.

“Instead, we are asking for reasonable laws or restrictions that will create a safer Texas for all of us,” they write.

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