DALLAS — One of these quotes is from a Democrat and one is from a Republican, but the two Texans sound remarkably similar:
“We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals like the killer here in Odessa while also ensuring that we safeguard second amendment rights.”
“I absolutely don’t want to violate the tenants of the second amendment…but there absolutely is a place in the middle where common-sense gun regulation exists.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, made the pledge to keep guns out of the hands of criminals on Sunday after another mass shooting rocked the state of Texas. Seven people were killed in Midland and Odessa when a man with an AR-style weapon went on a killing rampage in both cities.
The pledge to find common-sense solutions came from state Sen. Beverly Powell, D-Fort Worth.
“No, no, no — I do not want to take people’s guns away from them,” Powell explained. “Our citizens have the right to expect us to find common ground."
She’s hopeful meaningful bipartisan conversations about sensible legislation begin soon.
She is one of at least a dozen Texas democrats calling for Abbott to convene a special session of the legislature to start the discussions. State Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, even started a petition on change.org to pressure Abbott to call the special session.
North Texas Democrats from the state House and Senate are expected to hold a joint event this week, during which they’ll announce several new legislative proposals about gun safety.
But social media posts from state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, suggest common ground might not exist.
After the West Texas shooting, Schaefer suggested that carrying a gun is a God-given right and that no “gun-control” solutions would work to stop a person with evil intent.
State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington responded with a tweet saying he “missed the bible verse where God granted us all the right to carry an AR-15.”
Schaefer continued with a long list of things he would say no to but said he would say yes to praying for victims, protection, and that God would transform the hearts of people with evil intent.
“We’re all for praying for the victims of these horrible tragedies,” Turner said on Monday.
“We all do that and it’s the right thing to do. But as elected officials, we have the responsibility to do much more. We have the responsibility to enact laws that protect our constituents.”
Schaefer did not respond to our requests for an interview on Monday.
“The citizens are united on this issue across party lines,” Turner added.
Abbott said the status quo in Texas is unacceptable and he pledged action, but it’s hard to know what action might look like.
More Coverage on WFAA:
- Here are the victims of the Permian Basin shooting
- Sister of USPS worker killed in West Texas shooting: 'I wish this was just a dream'
- Gunman fired from job before West Texas shooting rampage
- Police say no explanation yet for Texas shooting frenzy
- 'Action is needed': Gov. Abbott mourns with state, says more needs to be done to protect Texans