Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo on Sunday bashed a new Texas measure that would end most handgun licensing requirements in the state, calling the proposal “ridiculous” and in opposition to law enforcement agencies’ wishes.
Acevedo, who led the Houston Police Department for five years before taking the top spot on the Miami force in April, suggested during an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that the so-called “constitutional carry” bill could make officers’ jobs more difficult.
“Look, there’s something that God gave us and that’s common sense,” Acevedo told host John Dickerson. “And common sense tells us that that is ridiculous. Law enforcement, police chiefs, sheriffs, police labor stood up together and made it real clear we do not support constitutional carry here in Texas or anywhere in this country.”
The bill, approved by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature last week, would allow people to carry handguns without a license, and the background check and training that go with it.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he would sign the measure despite opposition from law enforcement groups who warned the bill could endanger the safety of the public and police officers. Texas already has some of the loosest gun laws in the country.
“Most American gun owners don’t support constitutional carry,” Acevedo said Sunday, adding that Abbott only wants to sign the bill to “appear” as though he cares about police officers.
“They only support the Blue in word,” he continued. “It’s now time to support the Blue in deed by vetoing that bill. You’re either with law enforcement or you stand with the fringe that believe that everybody should have a firearm regardless of their character, their capabilities or their mental capacity.”
Acevedo urged Congress and local lawmakers to take action on gun violence or risk a continued increase in violent crime in major cities. According to The Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than a dozen mass murders ― which the group defines as four or more people killed ― across the U.S. in 2021 so far.
Earlier Sunday, a mass shooting erupted in Hialeah, about 20 miles northwest of Miami, outside a banquet hall that had been rented out for a concert. At least two people died and more than 20 others were injured when three gunman opened fire on the crowd, authorities said.
“They need to come out of their own corners ― the left and the right ― and come to the middle, which is where most Americans are,” Acevedo said Sunday. “We need to have universal background checks. We need to make burglarizing these licensed gun stores a federal crime with mandatory sentencing.”
“And we need the federal government and both sides to address this issue,” he added, “because without legislation ... we’re never going to get through this summer without much more death and destruction.”