People affected by guns pressure lawmakers at the Capitol as Congress discusses gun reform

In a survey, 43% percent of teachers said that Uvalde may affect their decision to return to the classroom

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Thursday, June 9, 2022
43% of TX teachers say Uvalde may impact decision to return to school
In a survey, at least 43% of teachers said that the decision to return to the classroom is directly linked to the Robb Elementary shooting.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As Congress focused on gun reform legislation, there were people from all over the United States at the Capitol lobbying lawmakers. Some of them have ties to southeast Texas.

Former Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo was among those chosen to speak at a Moms Demand Action rally in D.C. on Wednesday. Before his appearance, ABC13 got to talk with him about why he made the trip.

"I think it's past time we do something about it, so I am here to lift my voice," Acevedo said in a virtual interview from his hotel in Washington D.C. "You can do both. Protect the Second Amendment and enact common-sense reforms. I mean, it's what Americans want. "

Acevedo was especially critical of U.S Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas who he said should work for the gun lobby.

"All he ever offers is thoughts and prayers and says there are no laws that can stop anything," Acevedo said.

ABC13 received a statement from Sen. Cruz's office that read:

"From his School Security Enhancement Act to his Protecting Communities Act, Sen. Cruz has introduced numerous pieces of legislation to keep our kids safe by improving background checks and securing schools. He's also been clear that he believes we cannot react to evil and tragedy by abandoning the Constitution or infringing on the rights of our law-abiding citizens."

Rhonda Hart, the mother of Kimberly Vaughan, who was shot and killed at Santa Fe High School four years ago, was also in attendance.

Since then, she has advocated for common-sense gun laws. One of the bills on the House floor presented Wednesday, HR 7545, bears Kimberly's name and deals with gun safety education. Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is a cosponsor.

RELATED: Firearm storage bill that passed House bears Santa Fe HS victim's name

"We don't think anything of it when we say you have to be 21 to buy alcohol. What are a few more years to buy your AR15? Really not a drop in the bucket," Hart said. "If a company makes over a certain quantity of guns, they have to provide information about safe storage and websites and other educational materials inside the gun packaging."

It is a measure in the House and Senate that has been pushing for movement on an issue with the nation's attention.

Also, on Wednesday, the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers released the results of a survey of 5100 Texans on the issue of classroom safety.

Katrina Rassmussen is a teacher in Dallas ISD. She is a wife and mother of two middle schoolers. This year, shots were fired on their campus, and her son's classmate was shot to death at a park and spoke at the virtual press conference.

"Our schools should be the safest public places in our communities, but our schools are under attack," she said. "At what point do we stop sacrificing our kids, educators, and school staff on the altar of political pettiness?"

The survey released included the opinions of a study of 5100 Texans six days after the mass shooting in Uvalde.

It included teachers and school employees, parents, and community members, and it found that among employees.

  • 77% do not want to be armed
  • 90% worry about a school shooting on their campus.
  • 43% say Uvalde may affect their decision to return
  • "We have got to get past these boy toy solutions that are completely disconnected from anything that has to do with schools," said the President of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

    As lawmakers in DC and Texas consider what if anything, to do about gun violence and school safety, the survey also found that among the 5100 Texans who participated:

  • 87% support comprehensive background checks
  • 87% support "red flag" laws
  • 85% support raising the age for all legal gun purchases to 21
  • "This survey shows that in Texas, people want it," said AFT National President Randy Weingarten, "Governor Abbott and Senator Cruz are out of step."

    ABC13 did reach out to Governor Abbott's office for a comment on the findings. As of late Wednesday afternoon, there has been no response.