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Texas leaders urge changes in gun safety measures after multiple mass shootings

Walmart asks customers not to openly carry guns inside and cuts back on ammo sales while Texas top leaders hint that some changes do need to be made.

DALLAS — The suspected gunman responsible for a shooting rampage in Midland and Odessa had been clinically diagnosed as mentally ill, according to ABC News.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said the suspect failed a background check when he attempted to purchase a firearm on Jan. 14, 2014. 

But, according to ABC News, the suspect was able to eventually obtain the automatic-style rifle he used Saturday in the shooting spree through a private sale. A private sale is a transaction between two individuals which does not require a background check.

“That’s a real loophole in the law and I think the NRA needs to get behind the president on that issue and really address that issue,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said during an interview Monday with Fox News. “I’m a gun owner. I’m never going to sell my gun to someone I don’t know.”

On Tuesday, Walmart announced it will no longer sell handgun ammunition and will ask its customers to stop openly carrying weapons in stores.

In a memo to employees announcing the policy changes, Walmart’s chief executive officer said he was sending letters to the White House and leaders of Congress calling for action on “common sense” measures that strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those who pose an imminent danger.

“We believe the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness,” the memo stated. “The status quo is unacceptable.”

That quote about the status quo might sound familiar because it is exactly what Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday. 

He said since the Aug. 3 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart and Saturday’s shooting in Midland and Odessa the sense of urgency has “absolutely” been increased when it comes to taking action on solutions to de-escalate gun violence in Texas. 

“We’re going to look at every issue,” he said. “There is no issue we won’t look at.”

Several Democrats are urging Abbott to call a special session of the Texas legislature to pass gun safety legislation. Because the legislature meets just every two years, January 2021 would be the earliest that proposed legislation could be debated on the house and senate floor.

Abbott’s press office did not respond when asked if calling a special session was something the governor would even consider.

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