In response to recent school shootings, one Hays County student began petitioning local officials and candidates to renounce support from the National Rifle Association.
Gabi Perez, author of the petition, is a Wimberley High School junior. Her petition calls on Will Conley, a Hays County Commissioner, to disassociate from the NRA immediately. This includes refusing any money from the NRA and removing all supportive mention of them from Conley’s campaign websites. The petition seeks other county officials and candidates do the same.
The petition gained support from Citizens of Hays Against Needless Gun Extremism. The coalition consists of Wimberley High School Indivisible, Wimberley Indivisible, Jack C. Hays High School Young Democratic Socialists and March for Our Lives of San Marcos. Although these groups all have varying principles, they share the same goal of ending gun violence in schools.
Perez said she started the petition not only to end gun violence, but to see how some people in the community react toward it. Currently, the petition has a little under 200 signatures.
“The petition, more than anything, is to call attention to the rising issue of gun violence in our community and to not let people in power get away with supporting them,” Perez said. “The main reason I called out Will Conley is because if he is elected, he will be the most powerful person in county politics.”
The petition directly calls on Conley, who is running for local judge. However, Perez said she has not reached out to or heard from him. In response to the petition, Conley said he would be willing to talk with groups who oppose the NRA.
“I would respectfully disagree with them but listen to their thoughts and opinions,” Conley said. “I’ve been building bridges and bringing people together in this community for over a decade. If given the opportunity by the citizens of Hays County, I would continue to do so for the greater good of our community.”
Steven Kling, a candidate running for Texas Senate District 25, said he has already signed the petition after supporters brought it to his attention. Kling openly opposes the NRA.
“Responsible gun owners and citizens are standing up and saying enough,” Kling said. “We are becoming a force making the NRA very negative to be associated with politically. So yes, I think it will have an impact itself and collectively in our community.”