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Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price Joins Bipartisan Mayors Group Calling For Universal Background Checks

Bob Daemmrich
The Texas Tribune
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price at the Texas Capitol in 2017.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, a longtime Republican, joined a bipartisan group of U.S. mayors Monday who met with President Donald Trump's senior advisors to push for tighter gun control laws. She was the only mayor from Texas, which has seen two deadly mass shootings in recent weeks.

Price told The Texas Tribune that, among other measures, she supports red flag laws, which allow judges to temporarily seize an individual’s firearms if that person is considered an imminent threat. She also said that some private gun sales should require background checks. The 36-year-old gunman who killed seven people in West Texas last week had previously failed a background check and is believed to have bought his gun in a private sale.

“Well it's tragic and there's just far far too many of them and it really has awakened my resolve that we have to have universal background checks and we need the red flag law and we need a chance for private sales to have background checks also,” Price explained from Washington D.C., after the meeting.

Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick clashed with the National Rifle Association last month when he said he supported expanding background checks to include stranger-to-stranger sales. The NRA called his support for such an expansion a “political gambit.”

Price, who is a gun owner and practices recreational shooting, preferred to not comment on NRA’s statements Monday. But she said it feels like the political climate around gun rights and gun control have changed in light of the recent spate of mass shootings across the country.

She was one of more than 270 city leaders of both parties — including the mayors of Houston, Dallas and Austin — that signed a declaration asking for universal background checks.

“This is a nonpartisan issue and the president and his team need to be hearing from their conservative, Republican mayors,” said Price.

Sunday will mark the 20th anniversary of the Wedgwood Baptist Church shooting in Fort Worth, when a 47-year-old interrupted a teen prayer rally and killed 7 people.

“It tends to get forgotten in light of all [these] shootings now, but, yes, it was very significant and it left a major impact on people's lives,” Price said.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

Juan Pablo Garnham reports on urban affairs for the Texas Tribune and is based in Dallas. In the past, he worked as senior producer for the podcast In The Thick, editor of CityLab Latino and City Hall reporter for El Diario in New York. He has also taught at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. He is from Santiago, Chile. Read more about Juan Pablo.