By: Robert Davis
Republican governor Greg Abbott of Texas voiced concerns about private gun sales after a four-hour closed-door roundtable discussion with representatives from Google, Facebook, Twitter, the FBI, and Texas lawmakers about ways to combat extremism.
“His statements were disappointing to say the least,” Chris McNutt, Executive Director of Texas Gun Rights, told Gunpowder Magazine. “He basically compared private gun sales to aiding and abetting terrorists. That’s something all gun owners should worry about.”
While Texas lawmakers are looking for a quick and forceful response to the August 3 shooting in El Paso that left 22 Walmart patrons dead, Gov. Abbot signaled that he would take a long look at the state’s gun laws and safety measures. This look includes the efforts of a newly formed “Texas Safety Commission,” a policy group that lacks a single voice from the pro-gun crowd.
Gov. Abbot also rattled off other ideas after the meeting, including allowing police to conduct “welfare checks” when people raise concerns about people with access to guns. The mother of the El Paso shooter had called police with concerns about her son several weeks before he committed his heinous crimes.
Shortly before the attack, the gunman posted a manifesto online citing an “invasion of Hispanics” in America as his reason for committing the murders.
“Gun owners don’t want any compromise on this issue,” McNutt said. “These shootings always occur in places where people are disarmed. Instead of trying to find ways to punish law-abiding gun owners, give them more chances to protect themselves.”
Even though “welfare checks” sound reasonable, there is no evidence to suggest that they would stop a shooting from occurring. This is why they are being referred to as “red flag lite” in many pro-gun circles.
The El Paso shooter legally purchased his firearm and passed a background check.
The Sutherland Springs shooter legally purchased his firearm and passed a background check.
The Santa Fe Shooter legally purchased his firearm and passed a background check.
“The fact is neither of Abbott’s suggestions would’ve done anything to prevent the pure act of evil that took place on August third,” McNutt said.
Abbott’s Flip Flops
While Gov. Abbott takes his time to lead his legislature forward on the issue of gun violence, many gun owners in the state are concerned about his consistent flip-flopping.
After the Santa Fe High School shooting in 2018, Gov. Abbott publicly called for the passage of red flag laws and firearm storage requirements. After the emotional tension of the situation diffused, Gov. Abbott backtracked on his comments and said he never endorsed the policies.
Gov. Abbott told the Texas Tribune that he saw a “coalescence” of opposition to the proposals. McNutt said Texas Gun Rights collected more than 10,000 signatures on petitions asking Gov. Abbott not to support either policy.
“In light of recent events, that’s EXACTLY why lawmakers should focus on passing Constitutional Carry legislation, allowing law-abiding citizens to be their own first line of defense. Sadly, we can rarely count on our elected officials to do the right thing without extra encouragement,” Texas Gun Owners said in a press release.
Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips and comments at RobertDavis0414 (at) gmail.com.