AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced they’re forming House and Senate committees to study and recommend effective legislative solutions that will help prevent mass gun violence.
In a joint statement, they said: “Each committee will be tasked with examining a comprehensive cross section of policy-related charges.”
“The heinous tragedies like those that occurred in El Paso, Midland, and Odessa have become all too common in our state, and such a serious epidemic of violence should be met with meaningful solutions. These committees have difficult, important work before them, and the solutions they come up with will provide a roadmap for the Legislature’s work over the interim and in the next session.”
They did not specify what kind of policy changes will be discussed, but Monday, Patrick told Fox News private sales between strangers without background checks shouldn’t happen.
He said in the interview, “I’m a gun owner. I’m never going to sell my gun to someone I don’t know that — do they have a criminal record, are they a danger to other people, are they ready to commit evil? There’s no need for that.”
Law enforcement revealed the Odessa shooter failed a background check five years ago due to a mental health issue,” but purchased the gun he used in a private gun sale. Private sales do not require a background check.
Continued push for a special session
Democratic lawmakers, however, want Governor Greg Abbott to call a special session.
“We’re elected to make changes. We’re elected to try to fix problems. We’re elected to try to make our communities safe,” said Representative Eddie Rodriguez.
He continued, “The way our system is set up, we meet for 140 days every other year, but with the ability to come in in times of emergency, or whatever the governor sees fit, something that’s important. I would argue that gun violence in the State of Texas has reached that point.”
Wednesday morning, the Texas House Democratic Caucus said it’ll be holding news conferences in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso. They said the members will discuss how to protect Texans from gun violence.
Rodriguez, who will be at the Austin news conference, said, he wants to be able to talk about Red Flag laws, requirements for reporting stolen guns, high capacity magazines and background check loopholes.
When asked about private sale background checks, Andy Hogue with the Travis County Republican Party said, “I don’t know what would stop somebody that’s trying to illegally purchase a gun from finding somebody that’s trying to illegally sell a gun. They should be looking at the sources of gun violence, not the guns themselves, but what leads to that, what kind of social factors are there at play.”
Rodriguez said, “I think that when we really talk about it in a meaningful and honest way, we’ll find a bipartisan agreement of some basic things.”
Gov. Abbott’s response
Governor Greg Abbott said after the El Paso shooting, he promises action, but he will not call a special session.
He said Tuesday in a statement:
“Texas will not stand by and allow violence to continue to rip apart our families and communities. As I said in Odessa, words alone are inadequate as we face this challenge. Words must be followed by meaningful action to prevent these senseless and devastating attacks. I applaud the House and Senate for establishing these committees, and Texas lawmakers have my full support as we work together to put an end to this violence. These committees, alongside the Domestic Terrorism Task Force and the Texas Safety Commission, are vital to our ongoing efforts to respond to these recent tragedies and protect innocent life. Texans stand as a united front against violence, and together, we will ensure a safer future for our state.”