Dallas County commissioners want universal background checks for firearms, according to resolution

Commissioners in Dallas County are urging federal lawmakers to vote yes on a bipartisan gun control proposal.

U.S. House Resolution 8 would require a background check for every firearm sale. The bill passed in the House with 240 votes on Feb. 27. Eight of those votes came from Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas. HR 8 is now headed to the Senate floor.

The Dallas County resolution approved Aug. 20 was drafted by commissioner John Wiley Price just hours after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton on Aug. 3. It was brought before the court Aug. 6, but the vote was delayed due to an amendment requested by Commissioner Elba Garcia.

Garcia's amendment broadens the call for action by requesting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to schedule a special legislative session specifically aimed at tackling gun violence.

The resolution asks the state to enact universal background checks and red flag laws as well as consider a ban on assault weapons.

"I always respect the second right amendment, but semiautomatic weapons that can kill 400-500 people in one minute is just unacceptable," Garcia said.

Commissioner JJ Koch argued background checks do not prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining a gun, and that fees included in HR 8 "wildly and disproportionately" affect low-income citizens.

"Essentially, poor people could be deprived the right to bear arms by having to pay $500 per registration per firearm," he said.

He also took issue with the purchasing age limit. Federal law prohibits the sale of handguns to people under age 21, meaning HR 8 would effectively prevent young adults from acquiring firearms, Koch said.

"If you want to tell all folks under 21 that they can't protect themselves, then continue on with [approving this resolution]," he said.

Eventually, the resolution passed 4-1, with Commissioner Koch opposed.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.