June 27, 2022

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Turner joins Texas mayors in pushing Abbott for special session on gun reform

2 min read

A major group of Texas mayors, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, are this week urging Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session to enact several key laws aimed at curbing gun violence and mass shootings. 

The open letter was published by Texas’ Big City Mayors coalition hours before a committee of Texas senators heard damning testimony from the state’s top cop about the abysmal police response in confronting an active shooter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last month. The letter, signed by Turner and a dozen other mayors across the state, said their proposed restrictions on gun ownership—similar to those being pushed at the federal level—would have prevented the Uvalde shooter from purchasing the gun he used to kill 19 children and two teachers. 

“Families are asking us how many more shootings must happen before we act,” the mayors said in the letter. “The communities of Uvalde, El Paso, Santa Fe, and Sutherland Springs deserve better. In response to mass shootings—Florida passed red flag laws, and we can do the same here in Texas.” 

The letter calls for new laws requiring universal background checks for gun purchases, increasing the age to purchase assault weapons in Texas to 21, and implementing red flag laws to identify threats before shootings. The mayors are also pushing for a “significant” increase in mental health support funding and better training for school safety officers. 

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Read the full letter here. It’s signed by the mayors of Amarillo, Arlington, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Laredo, Plano, San Antonio and Sugar Land. 

“We cannot stand idly by while more of our fellow Texans, often our children and law enforcement officers, are laid to rest as the result of another preventable shooting,” the mayors wrote. “Action is the only thing that will save more lives.”


The letter was delivered to Abbott and published online early Tuesday, before Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw lambasted local law enforcement’s response to the shooting in Uvalde as an “abject failure and antithetical to everything we have learned over the past two decades since the Columbine massacre.” 

The letter came a day after Texas Democrats again called for a special session on gun reform. Abbott has yet to respond. Legislators are poised to return to Austin for the 88th Legislative Session in 2023. 



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