Harris County Commissioners Court supports resolution for universal background checks in Texas

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HOUSTON – In a 3-2 vote Tuesday, the Harris County Commissioners Court backed a resolution calling for Texas to enact stricter gun laws — specifically universal background checks. 

Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia brought the issue to the table requesting a discussion and possible action on a resolution from the county "supporting legislation requiring universal background checks on all gun sales in the State of Texas." 

Republicans Steve Radack and R. Jack Cagle were outvoted on the resolution Tuesday afternoon. 

While the resolution has passed, the county cannot make laws. This move is in support of the Texas Legislature enacting stricter background checks for people trying to buy guns. At present, Texas does not require universal background checks for gun sales. 

In the last legislative session, Texas lawmakers actually loosened some gun laws. One new law allows handgun owners to carry concealed firearms without a license in the event of a disaster evacuation. Another law passed removes the cap on how many school marshals may carry firearms on public school campuses.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott convened the Texas Gun Safety Commission a few months ago following devastating mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa-Midlands. In September, the Texas Tribune reported that Gov. Abbot was in a "tight spot" after being called to act following the mass shootings that left dozens dead. 

Current laws for buying a firearm in Texas

At present, you have to be 18 years or older to buy a rifle and at least 21 years old to buy a handgun in Texas. Certain groups of people, including convicted felons and people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence are prohibited from buying guns. Texas does not require universal background checks for private firearm sales.