FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – At news conferences across the state, Texas House Democrats urged Governor Greg Abbott to call an emergency special session in response to last month’s two deadly mass shootings.
Democrats said they can’t wait for the next regularly scheduled legislative session in January 2021 to act.
State Representative Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth said, “Governor Abbott, we have work to do. Bring us back to Austin.”
State Representative Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth said, “Words are nice, but actions are better.”
They want to pass new gun laws to keep them away from dangerous people.
That includes bills that would enact red flag laws and close loopholes of existing laws, close background checks loopholes, ban the sale of high-capacity magazines, limit open carry of certain semi-automatic long guns, and require stolen firearms be reported to law enforcement.
State Representative Victoria Neave, D-Dallas said, “Our laws are insufficient to protect the lives of the people of Texas. Our laws are enabling domestic terrorists.”
State Representative Chris Turner, Chair of the House Democratic Caucus said, “We agree with the Governor’s statement Sunday in Odessa that the status quo is unacceptable and that’s exactly why he must call the legislature back into session, something only has the power to do.”
In a statement, Governor Abbott’s Press Secretary said, “Legislating on tough issues is hard and takes time, If Democrats really want to change the law, they need to stop talking to cameras and start talking to colleagues in the Capitol to reach consensus.”
But State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas responded, “Don’t try to put this on us. We’re doing what we need to be doing. We’re workiNg with our Republican colleagues. There’s one person in this state who can bring us back to a special session and that’s the Governor. Period. Full stop.”
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen have formed select committees to develop legislation in hopes of preventing the tragedies in El Paso and Odessa.
But Democrats said the committees can’t vote — only the full legislature can — in session.
Republican Charlie Geren, who will serve on the House committee said, “They’re right. but at the same time, if we can’t put together a package of bills that will pass both the House, the Senate, and that the Governor will sign, all we can do is get to Austin for 30 days and argue with each other and things stay the same.”
Governor Abbott has held three roundtable discussions with state leaders, law enforcement, prosecutors, mental health experts, and people on both sides of the gun control debate.
He has said he is keeping all options on the table as he develops short and long term solutions aimed at preventing mass shootings and domestic terror attacks.