Austin City Council considers creating task force to tackle gun violence


AUSTIN (KXAN) — After shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, Austin city council members say they want to do more to prevent gun violence.

They point to the more than 30 people killed in two mass shootings earlier this month. City Council member Alison Alter, who is sponsoring the resolution, wants to uncover real solutions to gun violence closer to home.

“We need to take action,” Alter said. “I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to send my thoughts and prayers.”

Alter said a newly formed task force will find out exactly what the city needs to do to lower the number of injuries and deaths from guns.

“I can’t just sit back and wait for the Senate and the state to take action. It’s really important that we do everything we can as a city,” Alter said.

Other Texas cities have led the way. Following the Sante Fe High School shooting that left 10 dead, the Houston mayor created a “commission against gun violence” which took its findings back to the state legislature.

Alter said Austin will build off that momentum, but find solutions that are most appropriate for this section of Central Texas.

“A task force alone doesn’t solve anything. If you have the data and you don’t have the strategy, you won’t solve the problem,” Alter said.

Alter wants to narrow down the numbers to find out what’s leading to the violence in Austin. The data will drive the actions of the newly-formed team, made up of 11 elected members. Together, they will create strategies to fight the problem.

“Austin is a creative place and if we can bring that together with the right data to be strategic and tailor things, then we will be in a position to do what we need to do,” Alter said.

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