Democratic state lawmakers held joint news conferences across Texas on Wednesday to urge Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special legislative session in Austin to address gun violence in the state.
The action follows deadly mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa within four weeks of each other.
San Antonio Democrats gathered at San Antonio College to tell Republican state leaders the time for talk, roundtables and committees on how to curb gun violence is over.
State Rep. Ray Lopez said Texans, including school children, are living in fear.
“It pains me to see things in the paper that have a child with a bulletproof backpack getting ready to go back to school,” he said.
The Democrats are backing universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill or those with a history of violence. They also want a ban on private sales that get around those checks, and they want limits on round capacity.
State Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio said Republican state leaders have their priorities all wrong.
“Texas seems to place more requirements on what a person needs to register to vote and actually vote than to buy a gun,” he said.
State Representative Trey Martinez-Fischer said the Texas Legislature needs to take action today and not tomorrow.
“We seem to have this attitude of we’ll deal with it mañana (tomorrow). Well mañana didn’t help the good men, women, and children of El Paso. Mañana did not help the families in Odessa and Midland,” he said.
The Democrats said there is not one solution to curbing mass shootings, but several should be considered even if it means saving only one life.
The Democrats were skeptical their call will be answered by Gov. Abbott.
They said their approach is just common sense and would not lead to an erosion of Second Amendment rights.