News Roundup: Lawmakers Call For Special Session In Response To El Paso Shooting

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelAugust 5, 2019 2:35 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

A Texas lawmaker and a Latino Civil Rights Organization want the state legislature to address gun violence following the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart. 

Texas Public Radio’s Lauren Terrazas reports. 

State Rep. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott Sunday requesting an emergency special session to address gun violence.

The League of United Latin American Citizens made a similar demand and called for the convening of a FBI Special Task Force for Hate Crimes and Domestic Terrorism in the United States. 

A couple of Democratic lawmakers from El Paso say President Donald Trump’s rhetoric is indirectly responsible for the deadly shooting. 

The alleged gunman is a 21-year-old white man from North Texas.

Authorities believe he wrote a racist rant online spewing hate for Hispanic people before shooting and killing 20 people and injuring 26 others.

Former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke has described Trump as a racist and white nationalist in multiple interviews. This is what the Democratic presidential candidate told the CBS News program “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“The President not only tolerates but invites the kind of racism and hatred that not only offends us but changes who we are as a country and produces the kind of violence we saw in El Paso,” O’Rourke said.

The current U.S. Rep. from El Paso, Veronica Escobar, shared a similar reaction during an interview on MSNBC this morning. 

“Words have consequences and the president has made my community and my people the enemy,” she said.

While they have not blamed Trump, several Texas Republicans have explicitly described the El Paso shooting as a hate crime. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said on Twitter it is yet another example of white terrorism.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz also described the shooting as a “heinous act of terrorism” and white supremacy.

The online manifesto that authorities believe was written by the alleged gunman in El Paso contained talk of an especially destructive type of ammunition. 

Police have yet to address whether the shooter was able to acquire or use 8-M-3 ammunition. But Alain Stephens says this type of ammunition, which was developed by the Russian military, is coveted by some gun owners. 

Stephens is the Western correspondent for The Trace, a nonpartisan website dedicated to covering gun violence in America. 

“This ammunition has been popular in a lot of shooting circles because of its increased lethality. It’s a jacketed hollow-point that expands upon impact and creates devastating wound channels when it hits a target,” Stephens said.

Again, it is not yet known what type of ammunition the alleged gunman in El Paso used.