Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence

Houston Police chief Art Acevedo on Monday lambasted Republican senators for their failure to take action on gun violence and the long-stalled Violence Against Women Act after a city police sergeant was fatally shot while responding to an incident of domestic violence. 

Acevedo singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Trump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request MORE (R-Ky.) and Texas's Republican senators, Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz takes aim at Alabama vasectomy bill: 'Yikes' 'Medicare for All' will turn into health care for none Cruz 'impresses' his daughter with Chris Evans meeting MORE and John CornynJohn CornynSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Booker, Cornyn introduce bill to fund school nutrition programs Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday MORE, saying during a press conference that he did not "want to see their little smug faces [saying] how much they care about law enforcement when I’m burying a sergeant because they don’t want to piss off the [National Rifle Association]," The Guardian reported

The comments from Acevedo came just two days after Sgt. Christopher Brewster was shot and killed after responding to a call from a female victim who reported that her boyfriend assaulted her and was armed with two guns. 

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“We’ve got to get the Violence Against Women Act acted upon,” Acevedo said, referring to legislation that first passed in 1994 and lapsed during last year's government shutdown. “We’ve got to get in a room. I don’t want to hear about how much they support law enforcement, how much they care about lives and the sanctity of lives."

“We all know in law enforcement that this is 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 Act, 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," Acevedo continued. 

He went on to plead with lawmakers to "make up your minds" and decide whose side they are on. 

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"Whose side are you on? Gun manufactures? The gun lobby? Or the children who are getting gunned down in this country every single day? In our schools, in our theaters, in our colleges, on our streets, in our homes, in our businesses. Who are you coming to work for?" he asked. 

Cornyn and the National Rifle Association (NRA) did not immediately respond to requests for comments from The Hill. 

"It’s downright disgusting that John Cornyn’s loyalty to the gun lobby comes before protecting the women who need added safety the most," Texas Democratic Party spokesperson Brittany Switzer said in a statement to The Hill on Tuesday. "Every day, women’s lives are lost because of domestic abusers who should not have access to guns yet are able to get their hands on them. Texans deserve a senator who stands up to the NRA and the gun lobby, not one who continues to let women be murdered because they are too much of a coward to stand up for what’s right."

The House in April passed the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act despite objections from the NRA and Republican lawmakers who said it went too far.

The reconstructed bill bars those convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing firearms. Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinHouse passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum Democrats bullish on bill to create women's history museum: 'It's an election year' What the impeachment vote looked like from inside the chamber MORE (D-Calif.) attempted to gain consent to vote on the bill by the end of the year in November. 

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Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Progressive group backs Senate candidates in Georgia, Iowa Democrats seek to drive wedge between Trump, GOP on whistleblowers MORE (R-Iowa), who is introducing her own version of the legislation, objected, arguing that the House bill would not pass in the upper chamber. 

Acevedo has been outspoken in his calls for lawmakers to take more action on gun reform. Earlier this month, he said on Twitter that it was past time for Cornyn, Cruz and McConnell "to lead & get the Violence Against Women Act to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE." 

"Unfortunately, important legislation like this has fallen casualty to impeachment mania. We will keep trying to pass a bipartisan bill but it takes two (parties) to tango," Cornyn tweeted in response, prompting Acevedo to argue that the Republicans were still passing legislation and confirming judges. 

"Make women and families a priority, like you do the aforementioned," he said. 

"Don’t tell me, senator, with all due respect, it’s about the impeachment," he added on Monday. "Because you brag every day, you and Mitch McConnell, about getting judges confirmed. You brag about every piece of legislation you care about."

—Updated at 4:18 p.m. Tuesday