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US Texas legislators call for rethinking gun laws after church mass shooting

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-11-09 08:52

HOUSTON - Some members of the Texas Legislature on Wednesday pushed for their fellow legislators and other top officials to examine whether the state's gun laws need to be changed.

At a news conference organized by Texas Gun Sense at the state capitol, State Reps. Poncho Nevarez and Nicole Collier urged state leaders to declare gun violence a public health issue and reform existing gun regulations.

According to the Houston Public Media, Collier urged state leaders to declare gun violence a public health issue, comparing it to other health crises such as obesity and the opioid epidemic.

State Rep. Gina Hinojosa spoke at the same news conference, offering a list she authored of steps to prevent gun violence. Her suggestions include increasing public education on safe gun usage and requiring a license to carry for long guns.

The press conference came a day after state Rep. Jason Villalba urged state leaders to create a bipartisan commission tasked with recommending "common sense" gun reforms ahead of the next scheduled legislative session in 2019.

Nevarez and Hinojosa stressed that they did not advocate eliminating Texans' access to guns. Nevarez did, however, criticize state leaders for not offering "anything that amounts to any real solution" to gun violence.

Texas public safety officials said 26 people were killed after gunman Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire on Sunday at a church in Sutherland Springs, a community of fewer than 400 residents and about 300 km west of Houston.

The gunman was later found dead nearby in his car, apparently of a gunshot wound, after he fled the scene.

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