“When is enough, enough”, stated Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff regarding the increase in gun violence San Antonio and Texas has seen in the past month.
Judge Nelson, along with other police officials, shared the new measures they plan to implement to reduce gun violence during a news conference on Friday, June 3. This is a response to the shooting in Uvalde that occurred a few weeks ago.
Many officers believe gun control is more necessary than ever, especially after an 18-year-old was able to buy 2 rifles legally and shoot them at an elementary school. Wolff also shared some statistics regarding gun violence in Texas: from 2014 to 2020, yearly gun deaths have increased from 12,418 to 19,411. Teenage and child deaths increased from 2,921 to 4,753 and mass shootings increased from 269 to 611.
“Over the last two decades, school children have died from guns more than on-duty police officers and active military, combined,” Wolff stated at the conference. “… A special session needs to be called now. We don’t need a study, we’ve been through this for years and know what needs to happen.”
Wolff plans to start to take action against gun violence in Bexar County while they wait for legal action from the state of Texas. District Attorney Joe Gonzales stated that going forward, the county will destroy all arms that are related to legal cases even when the defendant’s lawyer disagrees.
Another part of the actions is to prosecute those who are in possession of a gun with illegal “Glock switches”, that transform a regular semi-automatic weapon into what is known as a machine gun. It doesn’t matter if the person found in possession of this device doesn’t have it attached to a gun, it will still count as owning a machine gun.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar also confirmed there will be more training operations to help civilians know how to act against an active shooter. This includes knowing how to stop a wound from bleeding out among other life-saving information. They will be given to different school districts in the area.
Salazar pointed out as well that they will look for grants to better equip the patrol deputies to act against armed shooters. This includes actual equipment and training as well. He also asked gun owners to be careful and not leave their weapons inside cars to avoid them being stolen by burglars.
Other officials spoke at the conference as well, like Bexar County Commissioners Rebeca Clay-Flores and Justin Rodriguez from Precincts 1 and 2, and stated their concern and compromise to act against gun violence via measures like banning gun shows on county property, pushing for $100,000 funding for gun locks and distribute and push for $1 million for a campaign on public awareness on gun violence.
Judge Nelson Wolff also called Texas legislators and political leaders to rethink Gov. Greg Abbott’s proposal of creating special committees after the Uvalde shooting. These include mental health, social media, and firearm safety, among other topics.
He also mentioned that he believes that the legal age to purchase guns should be 21, not 18. He stated the importance of creating a red flag law that allows people to take guns away from people who appear to be dangerous or a threat. Lastly, he also advocated for background checks and a required license for gun owners.
“We are tired. We are tired of replaying this over and over. We need to do something, and do something now,” he said.
Although at a state level things seem to be moving slowly, actions that can be taken by counties or cities by their police forces and government could make a significant difference while we wait. It is also very telling that these municipal and county forces can see the importance of gun control and are pushing the state to reconsider.