Jackson Lee stood in front of the steps of Texas Southern University’s public affairs building in the Third Ward when she addressed reporters.
“The main purpose of this meeting is to stop the violence and the gun violence here in this community, in Houston, and to be unafraid of talking about gun violence. And hopefully my voice will draw others – parents, educators, the faith community and law enforcement.”
And talking about gun violence also means talking about gun laws. Earlier this year, Jackson Lee introduced two bills dealing with gun safety. H.R. 65 would raise the age of handgun eligibility to 21 and increase penalties for possession of handguns by minors. And H.R. 2665 addresses the requirement of firearms dealers to provide storage devices.
She says those bills don’t compromise the Second Amendment.
“We’re not asking to take guns away. I have no interest in taking guns away from responsible adults. The only interest that I have is getting the federal government involved in giving help to Houston, Texas, because one more mass shooting over the weekend is intolerable and unacceptable.”
Jackson Lee says this is not about gun control but reasonable regulation of guns, just like driving a car is regulated.
But Brandon Rottinghaus, political scientist at the University of Houston, says chances are not good for any kind of legislation aimed at regulating the possession of guns.
“Certainly locally here, some of the violence that’s occurred in the last couple of weeks has peaked people’s interest, but I don’t see there being a major impetus statewide or nationwide to make any kind of major movement on guns or gun control.”
But Jackson Lee says she wants to continue to talk about the issue with the community and she’s hopeful that it will lead to results.
“I’m always an optimist but let me say this: If parents get involved, nothing is dead in the water, particularly if we talk about regulation and not use the term ‘control.’ Is there anything wrong with having a safety device and a storage device and making it a federal law?”
She says she’ll be discussing the issue with the ATF — the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — this week.