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Texas Senate Democrats address gun safety efforts

Members of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus met at the Capitol Monday afternoon.

AUSTIN, Texas — Democratic Texas lawmakers gathered Monday to discuss gun safety and efforts to prevent future mass shootings in the wake of the Uvalde tragedy.

Members of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus held a press conference at the Texas State Capitol at 2 p.m. Monday.

The press conference is the latest in a series of recent efforts by lawmakers at every level to address gun safety issues after 19 children and two adults were killed by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24.

A Texas House committee is currently investigating law enforcement's response to the shooting. Members of the Uvalde Police Department will soon testify in front of the committee.

Sen. César J. Blanco was unable to attend the event, stating that he tested positive for COVID-19. He provided the following statement:

"I sincerely regret that I can not be present for today's press conference due to testing positive for COVID-19. However, I stand resolutely with my democratic colleagues on calling for a special session to address school safety and mass shootings.

"Linked by devastating mass shooting tragedies in our respective districts, I also join my friend and colleague, Senator Gutierrez in demanding answers and solutions to help Uvalde heal and to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.

"We are not unfamiliar with the task at hand. In recent years, we have extensively studied and discussed school safety and mass shootings in roundtables, commissions, and previous interim committee hearings.

"What we have learned, is that there is no cure all to prevent all of these mass shootings, but we should be doing everything we can to prevent the next one, not just some things. Keeping guns, especially assault rifles, out of the hands of dangerous people and criminals needs to be part of the broader solution. 

"As the new Senate Select Committee To Keep All Texans Safe convenes, I am hopeful and confident that my colleagues on the committee will produce comprehensive and bold solutions. 

"I look forward to continuing to work with all of my colleagues to keep our children, our schools, and all Texans safe."

The Austin City Council last week was set to consider a resolution that would order the city manager to explore ways to ban or reduce sales of semi-automatic rifles to individuals under 21 in Austin. However, that resolution was pulled from the council's agenda.

Meanwhile, the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously passed a resolution requesting that Gov. Greg Abbott hold an immediate special session on gun violence, including discussion of topics such as red flag laws, universal background checks and improved mental health care and funding. Abbott is the only state official with the power to call a special session, the resolution states.

On the national level, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) recently joined KVUE's Ashley Goudeau to discuss two bills passed by the U.S. House aimed at stopping school shootings and reducing gun violence.

Monday's meeting will be streamed here.

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