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Faith leaders call for gun control policy change in rally outside Sen. John Cornyn's Dallas office

A woman wearing a blue shirt, left, speaks into a megaphone speaker held by a woman wearing a black shirt to her right in front of a crowd and camera outside U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's office in Dallas June 1, 2022.
Azul Sordo
The Rev. Stacey D. Brown gives closing statements to the crowd gathered outside of Sen. Cornyn’s office in Dallas June 1, 2022.

Members of the nonprofit Faith in Texas say they met with Sen. John Cornyn's staff to address gun violence, but said they didn't see eye to eye on reducing access to assault rifles. The plea comes after a mass shooting in Uvalde May 24 left 21 dead and 17 injured.

Several pastors offered prayers and stern words for leaders outside Cornyn's Dallas office Wednesday afternoon. They say they will keep pressure on lawmakers to exact change, even if it takes several attempts.

"You will not stop us, and this is not the end," the Rev. Stacey Brown said from a brown-and-white dais.

Brown and pastors from around the state also hand-delivered the names of loved ones they would like to spare from gun violence. Brown and others could be seen on Faith in Texas' Instagram Live appealing to a 23-year-old staff member.

The group also shared their four demands, which included passing universal background checks, launching culturally responsive mental health infrastructure, funding community violence intervention strategies and banning assault weapons and ghost guns.

A woman wearing an orange shirt holds a poster board filled with dates of mass shootings in the United States and the names of people affected by gun violence.
Azul Sordo
Vicki Hilley, a member of the Grandmothers Against Violence organization, holds a sign honoring the lives of those affected by gun violence. Hilley is a grandmother of five with many years of experience teaching across rural Texas.

The Rev. Cathy Sweeney with Arapaho United Methodist Church says she feels confident the messages will get to Cornyn.

"I do believe that those concerns will be shared, and my hope is that they will be shared in the same context that we shared them: with vulnerability and openness and honesty, even emotion," she said.

Asked for comment on the rally, a spokesperson for Cornyn said in an email the U.S. senator has been engaged in bipartisan conversations this week on legislation. The spokesperson provided a written statement from Cornyn stating he had a productive meeting with other senators.

"We've asked our staff to continue to work together to address some of the details that we hope to be able to discuss at some point soon," Cornyn said in the statement.

Sweeney told gatherers outside Cornyn's office that staff provided information on measures Cornyn would support.

"What we heard was a lot of preventative measures that he would support, but not measures that would reduce the number of guns in the United States," she said.

Faith in Texas is a nonpartisan, multi-faith and multiracial grassroots group, according to the organization'swebsite. Members campaign for social, racial and economic equity

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Kailey Broussard is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). Broussard covers the city of Arlington, with a focus on local and county government accountability.