BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The Texas Border Coalition says it is joining “a growing chorus of Texas leaders” who are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to call an emergency legislative session.

The group, which represents border communities from El Paso to Brownsville, wants the Legislature to meet in order to address gun violence.

The call is being made in the wake of last month’s mass shooting in Uvalde, which left 19 children and two teachers dead inside an elementary school.

Cameron County Judge and Texas Border Coalition Chairman Eddie Treviño, Jr.

“The catastrophe at Uvalde comes less than three years after our border community of El Paso experienced a terrible gun violence tragedy on August 3, 2019,” said Eddie Treviño, Jr., and C. LeRoy Cavazos-Reyna.

“With each year of legislative inaction, new communities across our state are added to the roster of sorrow, pain, carnage, and grief.”

Treviño is chair of TBC and county judge for Cameron County. Cavazos-Reyna is vice chair of TBC and vice president of government and international affairs for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Our state leaders have a duty to act now to reduce the chances of a person using easy access to high-performance, military-style weapons to target innocent Texans,” the TBC leaders wrote, in a letter to Gov. Abbott.

Treviño and Cavazos-Reyna say TBC agrees with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, when he says that reforms to protect communities need not impact law-abiding gun owners. 

LeRoy Cavazos-Reyna, vice chairman of the Texas Border Coalition

They say TBC also agrees with state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, when he says that lawmakers can enact better safeguards to protect the public, especially school children in Texas.

“TBC is urging the governor and Texas lawmakers to consider legislation that would increase the minimum age to 21 for purchasing an assault weapon; impose criminal background checks for all weapon purchases and a cooling off period between applying to purchase an assault weapon and receiving it; red-flag laws that would allow law enforcement and courts to use proper due process to prevent persons who are a danger to themselves or the public from taking possession of guns; and increased funding for mental health services,” a news release from TBC states. 

“While we may not all agree on every possible response to the problems and systemic issues related to gun violence and the prevalence of guns in our society,” Treviño and Cavazos-Reyna said, “we can create these bipartisan commonsense policies that respect the Second Amendment, protect law-abiding gun owners, and preserve security for Texas families.”

Here is a copy of the TBC letter in its entirety:

June 10, 2022

The Honorable Greg Abbott

Governor of Texas

P.O. Box 12428

Austin, Texas 78711

Dear Governor Abbott:

The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) is the collective voice of border communities on issues affecting the Texas-Mexico border region. TBC members are committed to working to develop innovative policies and legislation at the national, state, and local levels.

TBC respectfully requests that you call an emergency special session of the Texas Legislature to consider commonsense bipartisan policy measures to keep our communities safe from gun violence while respecting the Second Amendment. Such measures have a new urgency, and count on widespread support across the political spectrum, after the latest mass shooting tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.

The catastrophe at Uvalde comes less than three years after our border community of El Paso experienced a terrible gun violence tragedy on August 3, 2019. With each year of legislative inaction, new communities across our state are added to the roster of sorrow, pain, carnage, and grief. Our state leaders have a duty to act now to reduce the chances of a person using easy access to high-performance, military-style weapons to target innocent Texans.  

We agree with U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that reforms to protect our communities need not impact law-abiding gun owners. We also agree with Texas Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-TX) that lawmakers can enact better safeguards to protect the public, especially our school children in Texas. 

Following the leadership of Senator Hinojosa, we urge you and all Texas lawmakers to consider enacting bipartisan legislation that would:

  • * Increase the minimum age to 21 for purchasing an assault weapon;
  • * Conduct criminal background checks for all weapon purchases and their owners;
  • * Enact a cooling off period between applying to purchase an assault weapon and receiving it;
  • * Enact red-flag laws that would allow law enforcement and courts to use proper “due process” to prevent persons who are a danger or threat to themselves or the public from taking possession of any type of weapons;
  • * Increase funding for mental healthcare services and access across our state.

To place context on these legislative requests below we illustrate the effects that Texas has seen over the last several years, incidents involving the deadly use of firearms and unnecessary grief of Texas families and communities alike.

  • Ft. Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009, 13 fatalities,
  • Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 5, 2017, 26 fatalities,
  • Santa Fe, Texas on May 18, 2018, 10 fatalities,
  • El Paso, Texas on August 3, 2019, 22 fatalities,
  • Odessa, Texas on August 31, 2019, 7 fatalities,
  • Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022, 21 fatalities.

Our state has suffered more mass shootings over the past decade than any other state in our country. While we may not all agree on every possible response to the problems and systemic issues related to gun violence and the prevalence of guns in our society, we can create these bipartisan commonsense policies that respect the Second Amendment, protect law-abiding gun owners, and preserve security for Texas families.

Our Texas families and communities are depending on you and your leadership to enact necessary and overdue policy changes in this area. We urge you as Texas Governor to please call an emergency Texas Legislative Special Session to address these overwhelming concerns.

Thank you in advance for your consideration on this important matter to leaders on the Texas-Mexico border. We look forward to a positive response on this matter that has a monumental impact to many communities in the Texas-Mexico border region. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us or any of our TBC leaders at any time.

Sincerely, 

Eddie Treviño, Jr.                                                                     

Chairman, Texas Border Coalition                                             

County Judge, Cameron County, Texas

And

C. LeRoy Cavazos-Reyna

Vice-Chairman, Texas Border Coalition

VP of Government and International Affairs, USHCC

Ends

About the Texas Border Coalition

The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) is a collective voice of border mayors, county judges, economic development commissions focused on issues that affect 2.5 million people along the Texas-Mexico border region and economically disadvantaged counties from El Paso to Brownsville. 

The group says it works closely with the state and federal government to “educate, advocate, and secure funding for transportation, immigration and border security, workforce development, economic development and health care.”

For more information, visit the coalition website at www.texasbordercoalition.org. Follow TBC on Facebook and Twitter  [#TXBorderCoalition] to keep up to date on all of the latest news about the coalition and its activities.

Editor’s Note: Credit for the main image accompanying the above news story goes to El Pais/Mónica González Islas.


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