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KXXV: Local representatives react to president's announcement on gun control

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 5, 2016 | comments

By: Anthony J. Garcia

Central Texas elected officials are speaking out after President Obama announced executive actions on gun control Tuesday morning.

Obama spoke about a number of executive actions he would be implementing in an effort to prevent gun violence. They included requiring all gun sellers to run background checks, more FBI staff to run checks, access to mental health care and improvements in gun safety technology.

Senator John Cornyn says while he's saddened by horrific acts of mass violence that have struck, the measures announced by the president threaten constitutional rights and would not solve the problem.

 “An unwillingness to find common ground and achieve compromise has been a hallmark of this President’s tenure, and this issue is unfortunately no different. Rather than unilaterally impose a gun control agenda that’s unlawful and strips the constitutional rights of elderly Americans, the President should better enforce current law and work with Congress on legislation reforming our mental health system."

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick says the president's executive actions were "overreaching."

"The president may not personally like it, but we have the constitutional right to protect ourselves, our families and our businesses," Patrick said. "If the president's goal is to sincerely help protect Americans he should make it easier to legally purchase, train and use their weapons of choice for protection than trot out phony new regulations to stand in their way."

Texas State District Representative Roger Williams expressed his concern with the president's announcement in relation to the second amendment. 

“From his first day in office this president has made it clear he has an anti-gun agenda,” said Williams. “President Obama must go by the constitution, not around the constitution, and I certainly will not let him prevent law abiding citizens from practicing one of their most important rights.”

The White House announced Monday that Obama's executive actions included closing loopholes for gun show and online sales that have allowed firearms to be sold without background checks. It also requires background checks for people who purchase "some of the most dangerous weapons," like machine guns and sawed-off shotguns, through a trust or corporation.

In addition, the White House said the FBI would hire 230 more staff members to help process background checks, and steps would be taken to modernize the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. States will be encouraged to improve the sharing of criminal records and disqualifying mental health reasons with the background check system.

"President Obama is again attempting to circumvent Congress to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. The president’s continued overreach of executive power is a threat to our Constitutional system of checks and balances to protect individual rights."

Congressman Flores added, "The president should be focusing on strengthening our national security, rather than focusing on restricting our Second Amendment rights. This political executive overreach can only hide his record of failed foreign policies for a short period. Now more than ever, we must ensure that all Americans are safe and secure from radical Islamic terrorists and other national security threats."

Matt Quillen contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 KXXV. All rights reserved.

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June 19, 2020 Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day, is an unofficial American holiday and an official Texas state holiday, celebrated annually on the 19th of June in the United States to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger's reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on 19 June 1865, proclaiming all slaves in Texas were now free. Slavery had legally ended in 1863 but wasn’t announced in Galveston until 1865. Background of African Americans and Texas Politics Did you Know? • The Republican Party was formed in 1854 after the Democrats voted to protect and to extend slavery. • The 1860 Democrat platform declared its support for the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision. • The 13th Amendment passed without a single Democrat vote in Congress for civil rights for African Americans. • The Republican Party of Texas emerged in Houston on July 4, 1867 with 150 African Americans and 20 Anglos. The same year, the Ku Klux Klan actively began to attack African Americans and Republicans. • Two of the first three statewide leaders of the Republican Party of Texas were African Americans. • The first 42 African Americans elected to the Texas Legislature were all Republicans. • From 1865-1869, Texas Democrats passed “Black Codes” to prohibit African Americans from voting, holding office, and serving on juries. They also refused to acknowledge Juneteenth and even drafted a new State constitution requiring that State Representatives and Senators only be “of the white race.” • When the Republicans gained the Texas Legislature in 1869, they established a system of free public schools to educate all the children of the State (something Democrats had refused to do) and started a Texas State Militia and a Texas State police in which African Americans proudly served. • When Democrats recaptured Texas government in 1872, Democrat Governor Richard Coke’s election was described as “the restoration of white supremacy and Democratic rule.” • Texas Democrats engaged in bizarre gerrymandering specifically to prevent African American members from being re-elected to the Legislature. When African American Republican legislator Robert L. Smith departed in 1897, no African American was elected in Texas until 1966, when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Texas Democrats to redraw districts. • Texas Democrats enacted a poll tax that reduced African American voter turnout in Texas from 100,000 to only 5,000 and passed white-only primary laws as well as Jim Crow segregation laws. • As victims of Democrat racism and segregation, African Americans were loyal to the Republican Party they started. In fact, Republican President Herbert Hoover received more than three-fourths of the African American vote over his Democratic challenger Franklin D. Roosevelt. • Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to appoint an African American to an executive position on the White House staff. • A higher percentage of Republican Members of Congress voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 than did Democrats. • African Americans made their most significant political and civil rights progress while affiliated with the Republican Party. Happy Juneteenth!

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