North Texas mayors among 200 urging Senate to return to Washington for gun bill vote

Several North Texas mayors are among the more than 200 mayors who are urging the Senate to return to the Capitol to act on gun safety legislation amid criticism that Congress is failing to respond to back-to-back shootings that left 31 people dead.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, the mayors wrote, "Our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them."

The mayors urged the Senate to vote on two House-passed bills expanding background checks for gun sales that passed that chamber earlier this year. It was signed by El Paso, Texas, Mayor Dee Margo, Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley and others where mass shootings have occurred, including Orlando and Parkland, Florida, Pittsburgh and Annapolis, Maryland.

Gun control is mostly regulated at the federal and state level, but these mayors, some of whom have had to deal with mass shootings in their cities, say it's a local issue and they can use their voices to tell Congress to act.

The following North Texas mayors signed the letter:

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, and Rowlett Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price spoke with FOX4 about her decision to sign the letter.

Fort Worth sits far from the scene of Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso, but time and time again, local leaders have pondered if they're doing what they can to prevent it from happening in their city.

“It is a national issue, but it's hit Texas several times. It could be right here in our backyard,” Mayor Betsy Price said.

Price is mayor of one of the larger conservative led cities in the country, and she's calling on Congress to act.

“This is a non-partisan issue,” she said. “Most mayors are non-partisan, and you operate for the good of your community, and I felt like this was the right thing to do for our community.”

Price joined more than 200 mayors in signing a letter Thursday.

It calls on Senate leaders of both parties to "immediately call the Senate back to Washington to take action on bipartisan gun safety legislation."

It says measures the House passed in February -- that haven't been considered in the Senate -- might have helped prevent shootings like the Charleston church shooting in 2015.

“I'm a gun owner, and a shooter, but that's no excuse for people who don't need to own guns, to have those guns,” Price added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said late Thursday that the Senate will consider the legislation.

However, he pushed back on the mayors' request to bring the Senate back immediately to act.

The White House said earlier this year that the president would likely veto background check expansion.

He's since called for strong background checks, without specifically mentioning legislation.

Until lawmakers in D.C., mayors say they'll use their voices.

“You know, we can't control gun control at a local level, that's a state and federal issue, but mayors can take action. Mayors can use their bully pulpit,” Price said.

The National Rifle Association released a statement, saying it opposes any measure that "unfairly infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens."

It also insisted the proposals being discussed wouldn't have stopped the two mass shootings over the weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report