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As El Paso shooting anniversary looms, Rep. Veronica Escobar still fights for justice

Escobar calls for action against gun violence as El Paso approaches the anniversary of what was a dark day for Latinos in the country.

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It’s been nearly a year since a mass shooter targeting Latinos attacked a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 23 people.

The horrific shooting on Aug. 3, made El Paso the location of the deadliest targeted attack against Latinos in U.S. history.

“We lived through that horror together, we survived it together, we are recovering together, we are resilient together,” Rep. Veronica Escobar, (D-TX-16) said to Fortune.

Since the deadly shooting that took-place in her district, Escobar has been at the forefront of efforts made to bring some semblance of justice to the 23 lives lost through gun control measures.

“This is not a controversial issue. The vast majority of Americans believe you should be able to walk into a Walmart without fearing that you, too, will be taken down by a semiautomatic weapon. America is better than this,” Escobar said Monday during a press call with the nonprofit, Everytown for Gun Safety.

Since before the shooting, Escobar has urged Congress to act on gun control legislation, specifically in a bipartisan bill called the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.

It would require background checks for all private firearm transactions, unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer or importer first takes possession to conduct a background check.

Escobar’s bill passed the House in late February of 2019, but 23 dead and several months later, the bill has since stalled.

Immediately after the deadly attack, Escobar questioned the lack of emergency response from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in the days following the massacre.

She has since urged lawmakers to acknowledge that the rampant gun violence in the nation is responsible for mass shootings, not mental health issues. The El Paso Times reported Escobar admonished Abbott for “diminishing hate racism and the hatred that fueled the attack.” 

The shooter confessed to authorities that his motive was the “Hispanic Invasion,” yet his motivation continues to be downsized.

To commemorate the upcoming anniversary, Escobar reminded her colleagues of the day by introducing legislation that would create a healing garden to honor victims at a national memorial site. On July 27, the El Paso County Commissioners Court approved a resolution.

But what the El Paso community really needs is for Congress to revisit Escobar’s bill, which has remained stagnant. Nearly one year later, she is urging action.

 

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