EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The El Paso City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution condemning the May 24 mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde and expressing sympathy for the residents of that South Texas community.
Beyond a show of solidarity with the relatives of two teachers and 19 children shot dead by an 18-year-old gunman with an AR-15 rifle, council members renewed calls for gun reform they first made public after El Paso’s own mass shooting event on Aug. 3, 2019. That was when a man who drove 10 hours from North Texas to the U.S.-Mexico border allegedly to “kill Mexicans” shot 23 people dead and left almost two dozen others injured.
“This item is placed for El Paso to stand united with Uvalde, Texas, during these trying times. It is extremely unfortunate that we are now linked as communities of mass shootings,” said City Rep. Henry Rivera. “After our own horrific shooting in El Paso, our Texas governor, Greg Abbott, promised us reform laws and instead signed” a permit-less gun carry law.
Rivera, a former El Paso Police Department senior patrolman, opined that the recent stream of mass shootings across the nation has consolidated support for tougher gun control laws. “Not since Sandy Hook Elementary has the United States of America been so united as far as gun reform,” he said, referring to raising the legal age to purchase any firearms from 18 to 21, and more strict background checks.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said it’s time for Texas state lawmakers and members of Congress to stop talking about gun reform and just vote on it. “We keep talking about that it’s time now. Time was a long time ago. What’s time now to do is to stop talking about it and enact it,” he said.
The previous night, in a forum hosted by Democratic lawmakers, El Paso residents and politicos spoke up in favor of more stringent gun laws.
“The accessibility of guns to young people to people (is) something we have to address, and we heard a lot from people that they want that issue addressed and hopefully […] in the next legislative session or hopefully an emergency special session,” said State Rep. Cesar Blanco, D-El Paso.
El Paso resident Raneem Karboji said new laws should be passed to keep guns off young adults’ hands, especially weapons of war like assault-style rifles.
“I think the age should defiantly be raised but I think regardless it is an issue of access of assault rifles I think that should be banned altogether,” said Karboji said.
But on Tuesday at the council, resident Lisa Turner said the gun debate is moot because politicians on both the left and the right will not allow it. She called on leaders to address root causes such as poverty.
KTSM 9 News’ Shelby Kapp contributed to this report.