September 27, 2023

Commissioner Rodney Ellis to Introduce Resolution at Commissioners Court Asking for Special Legislative Session to Address Gun Violence

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis will ask Commissioners Court to approve a resolution calling for the state Legislature to hold a special session to address gun violence and school safety in the wake of the Uvalde massacre.

“For the last three weeks,” Commissioner Ellis said, “we have mourned the loss of children and teachers in Uvalde, along with senseless gun deaths in Tulsa and across the country, including at least three people in Harris County.

“These deaths are preventable. But instead of creating responsible gun safety measures, Texas has loosened our gun laws. After the tragic mass shooting in El Paso, the Legislature legalized unlicensed open and concealed carry handguns.”

Commissioner Ellis’ resolution calls on the Texas governor, Senate and House of Representatives to act on behalf of the people they are obligated to serve and protect to pass common-sense gun laws that would prevent gun violence and the needless loss of life in the Lone Star State.

“… We are experiencing a crisis of gun violence in Texas and across the country,” the resolution reads. “From mass shootings to homicides to suicides to accidental deaths, gun violence is claiming lives every day. It is getting worse. Every day, firearm-related incidents kill more than 110 people in the United States and injure more than 200 others.”

Fewer people die from gun violence in states where elected officials “have acted with moral courage to pass gun safety laws,” the resolution states.  States with the highest gun death rates have weak gun laws that “protect special interests instead of lives.”

“… For decades, the powerful gun lobby has blocked gun safety laws and research at the state and federal levels while advancing reckless laws that allow for ghost guns, permitless carry, and the irresponsible proliferation of guns throughout our communities,” it says.

The resolution calls upon our representatives in Congress to work with the Biden Administration in enacting effective gun safety legislation to protect all Americans, including a renewal of the assault weapons ban, background checks for all gun sales, new standards for gun storage and safety, implementation of red flag laws that allow for the temporary removal of guns from people who pose an imminent danger to themselves or others, and removal of the liability shield that protects gun manufacturers from lawsuits over the harm their weapons cause.

In addition, the resolution states, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the “Protecting Our Kids Act” that would raise the age for buying semiautomatic weapons from 18 to 21; establish new federal offenses for gun trafficking and selling large-capacity magazines; and create tax incentives for purchasing safe storage devices.

“If this law had been in effect in 1999, at least 20 gunmen might not have been able to purchase large-capacity magazines and destroy countless lives,” the resolution says.

Said Commissioner Ellis: “Responsible gun owners and the vast majority of Americans agree: it’s time to enact meaningful gun legislation. Lives are on the line. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this resolution calling on our state legislators to convene and pass laws to make our communities safer.”

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