Houston mayor pressures Abbott for more local authority to stop gun violence

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On Wednesday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner pushed Texas lawmakers to allow for more local authority on gun safety measures. 

“If I could do it today, I would do it today. But the state has preempted us,” Turner said of implementing background checks on private firearm sales at Houston gun shows, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Turner’s move comes a day ahead of the first meeting of the newly created Texas Safety Commission. The commission was set up to study policy solutions to gun violence and domestic terrorism. 

Under current Texas law, counties and cities are prohibited from adopting regulations that relate to the transfer, ownership, licensing or registration of firearms. As The Signal previously reported, that leaves local governments with almost zero options to fight gun violence.

Turner also joined other Democrats in calling for a special legislative session following the terrorist attack in El Paso that left 22 dead.

Abbott has rejected a special session and instead chosen to create a commission to tackle gun violence– but it’s not clear whether those discussions will result in timely policy changes. The legislature doesn’t meet again until 2021.

In the past five years, more than 17,000 Texans have died due to gun violence, including 353 children, according to online database Gun Violence Archive. And white supremacists elements appear emboldened in Texas recently, first in El Paso, then in Dallas. 

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