In the aftermath of the Sutherland Springs church shooting, state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, is calling for the creation of a Commission on Gun Violence to examine its causes in Texas and recommend “common sense gun control reforms” to the next session of the Texas Legislature.
In an open letter to his “Fellow Texans,” Villalba wrote that he was asking Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus to create a Commission on Gun Violence in Texas to be chaired by an appointee of the governor and vice-chaired by appointees of the lieutenant governor and speaker. It would be made up of four senators — two from each party — four members of the House — two from each party — and four other members — a law enforcement specialist, a mental health expert, a member of the clergy and an ethicist, all chosen by a majority of the other appointees.
“The primary charge of the commission shall be to determine the root causes of gun violence in Texas and to provide proposed legislation to address these issues and which shall be adopted in the 86th Legislature,” Villalba wrote. “The secondary charge of the commission shall be to publish the findings of the commission and disseminate through education and conference the proposals of the commission.”
“There is no question that mental health plays a significant role in these attacks, and certainly, adequate mental health funding and accessibility shall be a key component to any solution to this complex issue,” Villalba wrote.
“But, to be perfectly clear,” the letter continued, “the commission shall focus on ALL possible causes of gun violence in Texas INCLUDING lax or deficient gun control laws and regulations in Texas. No shibboleth shall be off limits. THERE NEEDS TO BE COMMON SENSE GUN CONTROL REFORMS IN TEXAS! If we expect a change in the outcomes, we must consider all inputs. The time is now to DO something. Whatever that may be.”
“Tonight,” Villalba, “I will go home and I will rest my hands and my face on the tops of my children’s heads. We will say our prayers and we will hug and I will thank God for them. For many families in Charlottesville, Sandy Hook, Killeen, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs and across America, that will not happen. Today is the day that Texan parents like you and me stand up and say, enough. As God is our witness, this stops here.”