Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales vowed to support the bipartisan gun reform legislation poised to pass in the Senate this week, citing how he survived domestic abuse as a child.
“My name is Tony Gonzales and I am a survivor of domestic abuse, my stepfather would come home drunk & beat on me and my mother,” the Republican wrote in a Twitter thread Wednesday morning.
“One night he decided that wasn’t enough and shoved a shotgun in my mother’s mouth. I was 5 at the time and not strong enough to fend off the wolves.”
“School was my sanctuary from the chaos at home. Now I am 41, all grown up. Loving father of six children. Served our country in the Navy for 20 years, led men and women in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. I slay wolves every day,” he continued.
Gonzales noted that in Congress it is his “duty to pass laws that never infringe on the Constitution while protecting the lives of the innocent.”
“In the coming days I look forward to voting YES on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” he posted.
Gonzales — who represents Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were killed in a school shooting last month — has a long history of supporting the Second Amendment and shooting down Democrat-backed gun control bills.
As recently as January, the congressman accused “the radical left” of looking to take away Americans’ guns.
“Not on my watch!” he tweeted at the time. “Proud to defend your Second Amendment.”
It is unclear how many Republicans are expected to join Gonzales in his support of the legislation, but his stark shift could be indicative of it passing with more bipartisan support than expected.
The legislation passed a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, clearing cloture in a 64-34 vote. If all 14 Republicans who voted in favor remain in support of the legislation when it is brought to an official vote, the bill should easily pass the 60-vote filibuster threshold required in the 50-50 Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is expected to hold a vote this week.
While the legislation fails to include key measures sought by Democrats, it does provide financial incentives for states to create mental health programs and implement “red flag” laws, requires expanded background checks for gun buyers under 21, increases penalties for straw purchases of firearms, and closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” prohibiting romantic partners convicted of domestic violence and not married to their victims from getting firearms.