Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo slammed Republican lawmakers on Wednesday for stalling the Violence Against Women Act and gun control measures after one of his officers, Sgt. Chris Brewster, was fatally shot while responding to a domestic violence call.
Acevedo accused GOP senators like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX) of refusing to reauthorize the VAWA over fear from backlash from the National Rifle Association.
“To the people who say this is political: This is not political,” Acevedo told CNN, reference the popular GOP talking point against gun control after a mass shooting. “Death is not political. You see, death is final.”
“So the question is simple: Do you, Sen. Cruz support closing the boyfriend loophole that’s in that [Violence Against Women Act] law, yes or no?” the police chief continued. “Because if you look at the response from the elected officials in the Senate, not one of them addressed the loophole. You know why? Because you’re on the wrong side of history. That’s why.”
In response to Acevedo’s assertion that efforts to curb gun violence was not political, Republican senators accused the policeman of politicizing Brewster’s death.
“It’s unfortunate the chief of police in Houston seems more focused on trying to advance his own political ambitions than on supporting the brave men and women of HPD,” Cruz said in a statement to CNN.
“Under current law the shooter would’ve been legally disqualified from purchasing a firearm,” Cornyn said. “So I regret [Acevedo] took the occasion, the sad occasion, of the officer’s murder to try to make a political statement that was factually wrong.”
Acevedo made similar comments about Republican senators on Monday.
“I don’t want to hear about how much they support law enforcement,” he said during an interview with CNN. “I don’t want to hear about how much they care about lives and the sanctity of lives yet, we all know in law enforcement that one of the biggest reasons that the Senate and Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and others are not getting into a room and having a conference committee with the House and getting the Violence Against Women’s Act [passed] is because the NRA doesn’t like the fact that we want to take firearms out of the hands of boyfriends that abuse their girlfriends.”