“The time is now. We have three weeks,” said state Senator Roland Gutierrez, representing Uvalde.
DALLAS – Several bills that would strengthen gun laws in Texas are stalled in the Legislature.
Movement on them in the final weeks of the regular session seems unlikely, even after the mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, Texas.
But state Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat whose district includes Uvalde, told the WFAA he believes there is still time to act.
“What happened yesterday and what happened to Uvalde is about to happen again. It will happen next week or next week or next week. This slaughterhouse that is happening in our state is becoming all too common and all too normal,” Gutierrez said.
“This has to change. Lawmakers can do something about it. The time is now. We have three weeks,” he added.
Gutierrez has introduced several bills addressing what he and other Democrats call “common-sense gun safety measures,” but none of his bills have been heard.
Some of the similar bills filed in the Texas House have received a hearing in the Community Safety Select Committee.
HB 2744 would raise the age for purchasing an AR-15 from 18 to 21.
HB 236 would expand background checks.
HB 4472 would require the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide information about safe firearm storage to parents in Texas schools.
All those bills seem stuck.
Committee members voted not to send them to the entire House for floor debate.
But Republican-backed HB 1894, which would institute a ban on extreme hazard protection orders, commonly known as red flag laws, also did not leave the committee.
The ordinary session ends on 29 May.
The committee has no more meetings scheduled.
To get the legislation through, the bills need to be moved out of committee this week.
“I’m about to scream from the rafters. I will pray, I will plead, I will do whatever I have to do for people to create common sense gun safety solutions. We are not trying to take away anyone’s weapons” Gutierrez said.
His top priorities are to raise the age to purchase an AR-15 to 21, institute extreme risk protection orders, close the gun show loophole, and improve background checks.
Gov. Greg Abbott declined a WFAA request for an interview and did not speak to reporters at a vigil he attended Sunday night at Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen.
Ma granted an interview to Fox News Sunday with Shannon Bream.
Bream showed data from a recent Fox News poll showing that more than 80 percent of respondents have gone through more background checks for gun purchases, enforcing existing gun laws, raising the legal age to buy guns at 21 and requesting mental health checkups.
Abbott said the answer is better mental health services.
“People want a quick fix,” Abbott told Bream. “The long-term solution here is to address the mental health issue.”
Gutierrez called that “nonsense”.
“Yes, of course we have a mental health issue. The whole world has a mental health problem,” she said.
“We have people who are mentally ill who can access guns with impunity. Republican policies, small arms laws, have made our community more dangerous, not less dangerous,” Gutierrez said.
Abbott also told Fox News that Texas is working to pass legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
HB 4843, which would increase the sentence for felons found in possession of a firearm, passed the House but not the Senate.