Fort Worth mayor, interim police chief urge Congress to pass gun background checks bill

Fort Worth's mayor and interim police chief are in Washington, D.C. pushing for tougher federal gun laws.

Mayor Betsy Price, a conservative gun owner, made headlines when she signed a letter urging Congress to act in the wake of the El Paso shooting last month.

The Fort Worth mayor was vocal immediately after the August El Paso attack by the confessed shooter from Allen. Price led a prayer vigil in Fort Worth for the victims.

The group was in D.C. Monday meeting with White House officials and senators. More than 200 mayors have signed on to this letter demanding the U.S. Senate take action. They hope these meetings help push a vote to the floor.

As lawmakers returned from their summer break on Monday, a bipartisan coalition of mayors and police chiefs were ready to meet them. They are hopeful Congress will act on gun control.

While more often than not, Democrats are the ones pushing for gun control.

Conservative Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is among those in the bipartisan group calling for background checks for all gun sales.

“Fort Worth is a very conservative city, and we have a healthy respect for gun rights,” Price said. “But this is not about taking anybody's weapons away.”

Price and more than 200 other mayors sent a letter to Senate leaders demanding action on background check legislation just days after the El Paso mass shooting that killed 22 people. Since then, a second mass shooting in West Texas took seven lives.

Reports say federal agents are trying to determine if the Odessa shooter bought the high-power rifle he used in a private sale with a Lubbock man.

Interim Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus is among the law enforcement officials joining the mayors on the D.C. visit.

“Right now, you have criminals or those with a mental illness history that may be able to circumvent the background check,” Kraus said. “It just needs to be the same standard for everybody.”

Other Texas conservatives are also calling for change.

On Friday, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a staunch conservative, called for background checks on stranger-to-stranger gun sales. And in doing so, he picked the fight with the NRA, which is against expanding background checks.

Price believes it's common sense.            

“I shoot some competitively. My husband shoots a lot,” Price said. “And no one that I've talked to, or nine out of ten of them, have a problem with the universal background checks. In fact, they think it makes for more responsible gun owners.”

The House of Representatives already passed a resolution calling for universal background checks. The bipartisan group says they simply want an up or down vote in the Senate.