EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Volunteers with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, will attend and testify at a hearing in El Paso.
Moms will be testifying at the House Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety Select Committee hearing today.
According to the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sence in America, the Texas legislature has consistently weakened gun laws, despite high rates of gun suicide, gun homicide, and some of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.
Group officials say the volunteers will urge lawmakers to consider legislation that would address gun-related domestic violence in Texas.
The organization also says nearly 400 women have been fatally shot by an intimate partner in Texas. They say the Texas Legislature could address the issue by considering the policies below:
- Closing the boyfriend loophole: Today, women are as likely to be killed by dating partners as by spouses. Yet the current federal and Texas law that bars convicted domestic abusers from possessing firearms does not apply to dating partners who don’t share a child with their victim. While the Texas legislature has closed this loophole for abusers subject to domestic violence restraining order, they have not yet done the same for abusive dating partners convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.
- Disarming domestic abusers: Access to a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed. Under federal and Texas law it is generally illegal for convicted domestic abusers to buy or have a gun. But dangerous gaps in the law allow abusers to keep firearms they already have. Texas should join over a dozen other states including neighboring Louisiana that have passed legislation requiring convicted domestic abusers to relinquish firearms in their possession. These laws are associated with 14-16 percent lower rates of intimate partner firearm homicide.
The organization also adds that ninety-five percent of law enforcement officer deaths in response to domestic disturbances between 1996 and 2010 were from a firearm.
More information on gun violence in Texas is available here.
Several El Paso leaders are also testifying before the Texas House Committee Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety hearing Thursday at UTEP.
The committee’s goal is to hear ideas on how to address the problem of mass shootings and other acts of violence in Texas.
Testimony is being given by members of the public as well as El Paso leaders including Mayor Dee Margo, District Attorney Jaime Esparza and El Paso County 911 District Director Scott Calderwood. The Chief of the Protective Order of the County Attorney’s Office, Selina Saenz will also be part of the local official panel.
According to the County Attorney’s Office, Saenz will talk about the connection between domestic violence and mass shootings. She will propose robust firearm surrender protocols.
“Ultimately, my goal is to convince you that firearm surrender legislation like Representative Moody’s bill, HB 31915, from the last legislative session needs to be passed,” Saenz wrote in prepared remarks emailed to KTSM.
KTSM’s Stephanie Shields is at the hearing and will have a report at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
Earlier this week, Gov. Greg Abbott’s task force focusing on domestic terrorism in Texas convened for the second time.
“One thing that was a catalyst for the creation of this organization was the horrific shooting and terrorism that took place in El Paso,” Abbott said Tuesday. “But we all need to understand that terrorism evolves.”