Latino leaders urge special session on gun control in Texas

El Paso Strong

Some Hispanics fearful of another hate attack, state lawmaker says

From left, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wait to greet President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they arrive at El Paso International Airport to meet with people affected by the El Paso mass shooting, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Texas Latino leaders on Friday urged Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session of the Legislature to crack down on the sale of assault-style weapons.

“Governor, you called for a special session (in 2017) to protect little girls from transgender men going into bathrooms. That merited a special session. We believe that the victims, all of the people dying in Texas in the last three years merits a special session of the Legislature to deal with the issue of gun violence,” said Domingo Garcia, a Dallas lawyer and national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Garcia on Friday said an “outright ban” on AR-15 and AK-47 rifles and other assault rifles is warranted given similar firearms were utilized in the 2017 shooting at a church in Southerland Springs, Texas; in 2018 at Santa Fe High School near Houston; and last Saturday at a Walmart in El Paso.

“We are asking today for an outright ban on all military assault rifles” in Texas, Garcia said at a news conference broadcast on Facebook Live from Dallas. “These are weapons of mass destruction whose sole intent is to mass-kill people and have been used in the killings in all these three locations in Texas.”

Garcia and other activists called for “common sense restrictions” on assault rifles in Texas, including the following conditions:

  • Background checks on every buyer.
  • Passing a firearms knowledge test on assault-style weapons.
  • Having a doctor’s note certifying the mental fitness of the buyer.
  • Obtaining a special license for the purchase of the assault-style weapon.

“We are also asking the governor that we need to set up a public safety (task force) to investigate white militant terrorism and supremacy here in Texas. What we saw in El Paso was (an individual) driven by hate, driven by extreme right-wing ideology”, said Garcia, who is scheduled to lead a march Saturday morning in Downtown El Paso to denounce violence against Latinos.

State Rep. Victoria Neave (D-Garland), said she was among a group of state lawmakers that this week sent a letter to Abbott urging him to call a special session to deal with mass shootings and firearms sales.

“Round tables are not enough. There is only so much that we can do before our country is faced with another terrorist attack at the hands of white supremacists,” Neave said. “We are a nation in perpetual mourning, guilty of perpetual inaction of preventable tragedies.”

Neave said Latinos across the state are worried about more possible hate crime targeting them.

“White supremacy is a fundamental threat that steals from us the freedom to be comfortable at public spaces, at churches, at schools,” she said, adding that it’s possible to pass gun control legislation in Texas without being in direct conflict with Second Amendment protections.

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