Texas GOP House member who represents Uvalde touted his opposition to gun safety laws

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'I'm happy to debate policy, but not today,' Rep. Tony Gonzales said in the wake of the killing of 19 children in the Texas town he represents.

The Republican House member who represents Uvalde, Texas, where 19 kids and 2 adults were shot to death in an elementary school on Tuesday, has said in the past that he will vote against any gun safety legislation in Congress.

In September 2021, Rep. Tony Gonzales tweeted in response to a provision on firearms included in that year's annual defense spending bill, "I will fight against any attempt to restrict our 2nd Amendment right, which is why I joined in urging the stripping of red flag laws from the final version of the bill." Gonzales was one of 161 Republican House members who signed a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in October of that year urging that the provision be removed.

The "red flag" provision would have allowed military judges to temporarily confiscate guns from members of the military or their dependents against whom an order of protection had been issued. Republicans successfully stripped it from the bill.

It wasn't the first time Gonzales had opposed gun safety measures.

In March 2021, Gonzales spotlighted his votes against two gun safety bills passed by the Democratic-controlled House that have yet to be taken up in a Senate in which Republicans maintain the power to block legislation via filibuster.

"I voted against the Democrats's [sic] two gun control bills today. These bills would put more restrictions on law-abiding citizens and fail to make us safer," Gonzales tweeted.

The first bill Gonzales voted against would strengthen background checks for gun purchasers, a measure that enjoys broad public support.

The second would close the so-called "Charleston loophole," which allows gun sellers to complete the sale of firearms if the FBI background check on the purchaser is not completed within three days. The name of the loophole refers to the mass killing of nine people at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 by a white supremacist gunman who was prohibited by law from purchasing a firearm but was able to do so before a background check was completed.

After the Uvalde shooting, Gonzales refused to talk about his gun record or gun safety legislation.

"I'm happy to debate policy, but not today," Gonzales told CBS News' Gayle King.

Gonzales represents Texas' 23rd Congressional District, which runs along the state's border with Mexico.

Prior to the redistricting process following the 2020 census, the 23rd District was a competitive seat that Hillary Clinton carried by 3 points in 2016 and Donald Trump by 2 points in 2020. FiveThirtyEight said the old seat had a 5-point Republican edge.

However, Republicans in Texas redrew the seat from one that FiveThirtyEight said had had a 5-point Republican advantage to one that now has a 13-point GOP lean.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.