Houston leaders call for gun reform, saying lack of restrictions adds to crime problem

Courtney Carpenter Image
Thursday, September 8, 2022
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Whether gun restrictions can truly pass in Texas remains to be seen, but the reality that Houston faces is that a lack of them are driving crime rates.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On Wednesday, city leaders gathered to call for what they said is a "sensible sense" of gun reform.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner and several elected officials said they are trying to combat crime, but the lack of restrictions on guns is adding to the problem.

So far in 2022, there have been 309 homicides, down from 318 this time in 2021. In 2020, there had been 235 murders at this point in the year, and 182 in 2019.

Kathy Davis is all too familiar with the effects of gun violence.

"(My great-grandchildren) ask every day, 'Is mama still with God? Can I say a prayer for her come nighttime?" Davis said.

Davis is in a situation she never thought she'd be in.

"Now (there's) no more talking. It's guns. And, (has to) to stop. It really has to stop. This (has had) a toll on my family like we never thought," Davis said.

She is raising five of her great-grandchildren after her granddaughter, Nikki Davis, was shot and killed while riding in a car near the Gulf Freeway in June. No arrests have been made.

"The state of Texas has not changed a single law since Uvalde," Turner said on Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: Mayor Sylvester Turner announces $44M 'One Safe Houston' crime reduction initiative

As community leaders called for gun reform, HB1927, which is permitless carry, was a big topic of discussion. Turner said the law creates more of a crime problem in Houston.

"We can't create an atmosphere where we pass HB1927, no license, no training, no regulations over it and ignore the fact when all water flows downhill and when local governments are having to deal with rising crime," Turner said.

Red flag laws, universal background checks, and a ban on 3D-printed guns are all part of the reform these leaders would like to see.

"Make no doubt about it, too many guns in the community in the wrong hands equates to too much violent crime in our cities," Finner said.

Violent crime numbers are down across Houston compared to this time in 2021, but we are not back to where we were crime-wise before the pandemic hit.

Turner said people ranging from 16 to 24 years old are driving up the crime numbers and that there is money set aside to try to reach them within the One Safe Houston plan.

"We have to reach out to them. We have to be much more aggressive in doing that, more so than many of these gangs that are out there. If we don't do it, somebody else will," Turner said.

Less families in Davis' situation is what many Houstonians would like to see. As she grieves her granddaughter, she's trying to raise the next generation out of harm's way.

"We talk to him (her great-grandson). We let him know, what happened to (his) mom. You don't want to be caught up like that," Davis said.

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