Following the tragic Uvalde massacre last week, where 19 school children and two teachers were murdered in their classroom by a deeply disturbed 18-year-old man, some Republican state lawmakers are joining Democrat calls for a special session of the Texas Legislature.
A special session, which can last up to 30 days, can only be called by the governor and on topics of his choosing.
Texas Democrats are demanding a special session to enact “evidence-based, common sense gun safety laws.”
Their demands include the following: “Raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21; Require universal background checks for all firearm sales; Implement ‘red flag’ laws to allow the temporary removal of firearms from those who are an imminent danger to themselves or others; Require a ‘cooling off’ period for the purchase of a firearm; and Regulate civilian ownership of high capacity magazines.”
In the wake of the shooting, State Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Allen) has also called for a special session where lawmakers can converse, deliberate, debate, and decide. However, Leach never said what legislators will be deciding.
Texas Lawmakers have work to do.
Conversations to engage in.
Deliberations & debates to have.
Important decisions to make.
And the best way to do our jobs openly, publicly & transparently is in a #txlege special session.
Texans expect & deserve this & the time demands it.
— Jeff Leach (@leachfortexas) May 27, 2022
Meanwhile, GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi says a special session is a “terrible idea” at this time.
Leach responded to Rinaldi’s comment, saying, “Says the guy who worked so hard – along with me and others – to call for a special session to protect girls in public school bathrooms in 2017. A special was right then & it’s right now.”
Rinaldi further explained his reasoning for not entering a special session, stating, “After El Paso, I had Republicans pushing me to support Red Flag laws & gun storage requirements that would solve nothing. I’ll pass on a 30 day Democrat fundraiser full of grandstanding and crying where the GOP plays defense & best case scenario is our rights stay intact.”
Unlike lawmakers calling for the special session, however, Rinaldi has suggested a course of action that is not anchored in stricter gun regulations but in securing schools.
Like Leach, Seliger did not specify what that “something” is.
State Rep. Tom Oliverson (R–Cypress) echoed Bettencourt, stating, “Good policy comes from thoughtful examination of all the facts, not from emotional outbursts and snap judgements.” He then responded to another tweet exemplifying why emotion creates bad policy:
I think you just proved my point about why rushing to a special session right now is the wrong move.
👇(Emotional outburst)👇=bad policy! https://t.co/5dOECfok4W
— Tom Oliverson, M.D. (@TomOliverson) May 29, 2022
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) has called for discussion on the leading cause of school shooters—unstable families with absentee parents.
A lot to agree with here. Strengthening American families and stable home life is essential for raising a new generation who will be pillars of the community, not killers of their neighbors. Can we have that conversation? https://t.co/wvAJljI8Zj
— Beth Van Duyne (@Bethvanduyne) May 25, 2022
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) echoed the need for this discussion, noting that “these are some of the things we need to address that have nothing to do with government and policy.”
The destruction of the nuclear family, the deterioration of Faith, and of community— these are some of the things we need to address that have nothing to do with government and policy.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 30, 2022
As the community of Uvalde reckons with the tragedy unfolding around them and nearly an entire class of fourth-grade students who won’t return for fifth grade, it remains to be seen whether more Republican lawmakers will act rashly and join Democrats in restricting gun rights in the pursuit of being seen as “doing something.”