FORT WORTH, Texas -- There's a new push to add regulations on gun shows held at city facilities.
As elected officials in Congress and the state Legislature consider whether to place additional restrictions on gun purchases, a local group is pressing for change at gun shows held on city property such as the Will Rogers Center.
The Tarrant County Democratic Party's executive committee is asking the city to make three key changes at guns shows held on city property: allow only licensed sellers there, require background checks for all gun sales there and require a seven-day waiting period for all gun sales made there.
"This issue is up and in front of us on the national stage," said Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Steve Maxwell, who recently presented a request for change to the Fort Worth City Council. "Something needs to be done to curb the gun violence in this country.
"This is heeding the call of the president, who said we've got to start doing something," he said. "This is the first step in making our voices heard on this issue."
Last month, President Barack Obama promised to do everything he can to make a reality the country's most aggressive gun control proposal in decades. The plan, developed through a task force guided by Vice President Joe Biden in the wake of the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in December, includes requiring background checks on all gun purchases, banning assault weapons and limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
Some city officials say they aren't sure about making any changes at local gun shows.
"I know some have raised concerns locally, but so far we haven't heard a widespread outcry from citizens on the issue of gun control," Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said. "As a country, we should do our best to keep guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens and out of the hands of criminals.
"However, I think most Americans understand that curbing violence is going to take much more than simply adding new gun laws to the books," she said. "We'll continue to watch the national debate, but I don't see any reason for local government to get in the way by adding more local laws at this time."
One political observer noted that Texas is a tough place to pitch gun restrictions.
"It's an emotional issue here," said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at TCU. "In Texas, there are more people passionate about less regulation as opposed to more regulation of firearms.
"It's a lose-lose scenario for people in Texas and in Fort Worth to try to engage in any kind of policy-making that would be seen as negative to gun owners."
Maxwell recently presented a resolution seeking the changes at local gun shows to the Fort Worth City Council. The measure had been approved nearly unanimously by the local Democratic Party's executive committee. There was one vote against it.
The goal, according to the resolution, is to put in place rules to "keep felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill from buying guns at Fort Worth gun shows in Fort Worth facilities."
Allowing only licensed sellers and requiring background checks for all the gun sales at these gun shows -- basically ruling out private sales -- would essentially close the so-called gun show loophole.
"It's incredibly easy to get around background checks and waiting periods by going to a gun show and buying a gun," Maxwell said. "This doesn't affect anybody's right to own a gun. It just puts the same regulations on gun sales at Fort Worth gun shows that there are in gun stores.