Mayor Ron Nirenberg says Abbott, Texas Legislature pushing back on common-sense gun reform

Gun Rights

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Nirenberg, chairman of Texas' Big City Mayors Coalition, speaks during a press conference held several years ago at city offices. - Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin

Nirenberg, chairman of Texas’ Big City Mayors Coalition, speaks during a press conference held several years ago at city offices.

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San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Wednesday that he and Texas’ other big-city mayors face relentless pushback from Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature as they ask for common-sense gun reform.

“Mayors are on the frontlines, and frankly, we value the lives of our community more than we value the weapons that are killing the folks in our community,” Nirenberg said during a Bloomberg interview. ”We have called on our leaders at the state level, where we are facing a lot of pushback — and frankly, a weakening of gun laws — to really reform what we have going on here.”

Even the wake of mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa, state legislators during 2021 sessions passed multiple measures loosening gun restrictions, all signed by Abbott, a Republican and NRA ally. Among those, the state’s controversial permitless carry law allows virtually any Texas adult to open-carry a gun without training or a license.

Nirenberg, chairman of Texas’ Big City Mayors Coalition — a bipartisan group of mayors from Texas’ 16 most populous cities — told Bloomberg the mayors are seeking legislation requiring universal background checks, robust funding for school safety officers and more money for mental health services.

However, Abbott and the Lege have made it difficult to pass any sort of common sense gun reform in Texas, Nirenberg told the news service. If any action is going to be taken to prevent gun violence, the mayors “need a collective effort, and it really requires some assistance from the federal and state government, and that’s what we’re calling on them to do,” he added.

Since the shooting at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School in May, politicians including the Uvalde City Council have called on Abbott to hold a special session to discuss gun control. The governor refused, instead appointing special committees to discuss ways to make schools safer.

In response to Abbott’s lack of action, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller encouraged the governor to “love his people” during an ABC interview earlier this week.

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