Jason Villalba: Texas Must Assemble a Commission on Legislation to End Gun Violence

Nearly two years ago, when I was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, I wrote this column as a request to the governor of Texas, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the Texas House: In the face of yet another mass gun-violence event, Texas must begin the conversation about the root causes of gun violence to stave off future horrific episodes.On that date in November 2017, an angry young man took the lives of 26 Texans in Sutherland Springs, just a few hundred miles from Dallas.When I made my plea for common-sense gun reform as a Republican elected official, I knew it was a political death sentence. And sure enough in the Republican Party primary, my opponent telegraphed to all who would listen that I was a gun-hating progressive bent on allowing "thugs" to harm constituents. Party leaders backed my opponent and cowered from taking the full action that I asked for.I have no regrets. I am hopeful that they will act now. Real leadership demands such courage.Dear Fellow Texans, Today our hearts are heavy and our souls are weary as we confront yet another horrific and senseless tragedy, this time in our own backyard. Although we live in the greatest country in human history, we are not immune to the ugliness of which our fellow man is capable. We feel broken, confused, helpless and angry. We do not have the answers and we wonder, what can we do to stop this evil in our land?We begin with a prayer. We ask God Almighty to comfort those who have lost loved ones; to give solace to those who cannot find answers to the existential questions of how and why; to provide peace of mind to those who are unsure of the current state of our world and our nation. But mostly, we pray for understanding and guidance. Oh gracious God, what can we do? Prayer is neither a tool of the weak nor the opiate of the masses. It is not the refuge of the coward or the complacent. Prayer is the instrument of the enlightened who recognize that in times of crisis, we must call upon a power greater than ourselves. Prayer can also be a seer. It can help us discern wisdom in the face of chaos. And so, after much prayer and introspection and after seeking divine providence, today my fellow Texans, I call on the leadership of our Great State of Texas to begin the process of ending brutal and senseless gun violence in Texas. Today, I am respectfully asking the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house of Texas to empanel a blue-ribbon Commission on Gun Violence In Texas. The primary charge of the commission shall be to determine the root causes of gun violence in Texas and to propose legislation to address these issues, to be adopted in the 86th Legislature. 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.  Continue reading...

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