87th LegislatureGunsSix Republicans Join Letter of Big City Mayors Calling for Gun Control Measures

The group of mayors pointed to red flag laws, expanded background checks, and a 21-year-old limit to purchase "assault weapons."
June 22, 2022
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Thirteen big city mayors, including six Republicans, penned a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott calling on him to convene a special session of the Texas legislature to pass three gun control measures.

“[We], a bipartisan coalition of mayors from our state’s most populous cities, are calling upon our state leadership to take immediate action to prevent the next mass shooting in Texas,” the letter reads.

The letter then calls on Abbott to convene a special session to pass legislation to:

  • “Require universal background checks for gun purchases.
  • Increase the age to purchase assault weapons in Texas to 21.
  • Pass Red Flag laws to identify threats before shootings.
  • Significant[ly] increase mental health support funding.
  • Train and properly resource school safety officers.”

Mayoral positions in Texas are nominally non-partisan, but most officials are affiliated with one of the two main political parties. The group includes Democratic-affiliated mayors like Steve Adler of Austin, Eric Johnson of Dallas, Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio, and Sylvester Turner of Houston, but it also includes Republican-affiliated figures too.

Mattie Parker — the mayor of the most populous GOP-controlled city in the nation, Fort Worth — headlines those crossing the proverbial aisle to support stricter gun laws.

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The other center-right officials are Ginger Nelson of Amarillo, Jim Ross of Arlington, John Muns of Plano, Ron Jenson of Grand Prairie, and Joe Zimmerman of Sugar Land.

“These reforms,” they assert, “supported by most Texans, would have prevented the shooters in El Paso and Uvalde from obtaining their weapons.”

How effective these policy proposals would have been at preventing either shooter from getting ahold of their firearms is very much up for debate. But they are among the slate of items being considered at the federal level and by some at the state level.

After saying that increased spending on mental health services and law enforcement training is necessary, the letter turns to gun-specific proposals.

“The problem that we face as a state, and that local law enforcement faces every day, is the ease with which dangerous individuals can obtain and access these weapons,” the mayors write.

“Protecting the 2nd Amendment means passing responsible policies that a wide majority of law-abiding gun owners’ support.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), among those guiding the discussions in the U.S. Senate which have since faltered, was booed at the Texas GOP convention last week over gun policy. Additionally, the convention passed pro-gun platform planks, including a proposed elimination of all gun-free zones, and approved a resolution condemning Cornyn and the other Republicans involved in the federal negotiations.

Cornyn announced on Tuesday night that a deal had been brokered for the federal legislation, which increases background check requirements for purchasers under 21 years of age and provides $750 million in funds for states to implement their own red flag laws.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include mention of the Senate gun deal announced on Tuesday evening.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.