AUSTIN — Last week, Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo was appointed by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, R-Houston, to serve as Vice-Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety.
Created in the aftermath of recent mass shootings in El Paso and the Midland- Odessa area, the committee will study issues related to mass violence, assess the effectiveness of existing laws and recommend new legislative solutions.
“I am grateful to Lt. Governor Patrick for this appointment, especially because the horror of mass shootings touches all Texans, including my own constituents in Sutherland Springs who suffered a horrendous attack on Nov. 5, 2017,” Senator Zaffirini said. “Protecting the health, welfare, and safety of Texas families is the sacred duty of our state government, and we took significant steps to enhance school safety during the most recent legislative session. Our work must carry on, however, as we strive toward a consensus regarding solutions. Accordingly, I look forward to our first committee meeting later this month.”
Chaired by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, the committee is charged with conducting hearings in communities affected by mass shootings to meet with victims and their families; assessing collaborative opportunities for detecting, preventing and responding to mass violence; and examining the effectiveness of both current laws and potential strategies to ensure persons who would not pass a federal background check are prevented from accessing firearms.
Having been at The University of Texas in 1966 when a sniper killed 16 persons and injured another 31, Senator Zaffirini understands the immeasurable pain everyone impacted by these shootings feels.
She participated in Governor Greg Abbott’s roundtable discussions in 2018, along with several of her constituents from Wilson County and others from affected communities.
The group examined ways to prevent these horrific events in Texas. In the face of this ongoing crisis, she hopes the Texas Legislature will continue to rise to the occasion and implement concrete solutions.
“Persons with a wide variety of viewpoints must come together and collaborate to find solutions and action steps that will save lives,” Senator Zaffirini said. “We must never let tragedies like those in Sutherland Springs, El Paso, and Midland- Odessa become normal.”