AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Texas is known as being a pro-gun state, and if you asked most folks on the street to name the most pro-gun state in the nation, a large portion–assuming it’s not all of them–would say “Texas.”
However, a recent move by the state is troubling. Very troubling.
You see, it recently passed a safe storage campaign as part of a massive spending bill in the state.
Lawmakers in gun-loving Texas have quietly gone around the National Rifle Assn. by slipping language into a massive spending bill that would fund a $1-million public safety campaign on gun storage.
The last-minute move late Sunday sets up a political test rarely seen in Texas for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who must decide whether to veto the spending or to ignore NRA opposition and approve the program.
The campaign for safe home gun storage is a small item in the two-year, $250-billion state budget, and it was fiercely opposed by the NRA and gun-rights activists. The measure failed to get a vote and appeared all but dead weeks ago.
Then budget negotiators — the majority of whom are Republicans — added the funding into a budget bill. The legislation was approved Sunday night by the GOP-controlled Legislature.
“I have full confidence that the governor will look at it hard and will realize it’s all about saving lives. I hope there is no one discouraging him,” Gyl Switzer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense, said Monday.
Abbot has line-item veto power, which means he can kill this measure. However, he can only do so with one or two items. Assuming everything else in the bill is good to go, this may not be much of an issue.
But the problem is that this passed at all.
“But Tom, haven’t you spent a good bit of time telling people to lock up their guns too? All this is about is a campaign to do the same thing.”
Sure, I have. It’s different, though.
You see, I’m a private citizen. I can tell people to lock up their guns and no one cares. Further, I also acknowledge that there are multitudes of reasons to not lock up your firearms. It’s up to you to determine where you fall into things.
But this isn’t about a private citizen. This is about the State of Texas telling you to do so. The government is making it its business. That makes the campaign a political football, which the National Rifle Association pointed out.
Bills filed by Democrats to have the Texas state police agency create a safe storage campaign never made it to votes in the state House or Senate. The NRA lobbied against them, arguing that gun rights groups and gun manufacturers have similar campaigns that are widely distributed to gun stores and shooting ranges. In one public hearing, an NRA lobbyist warned lawmakers that a campaign designed by the Texas state police could easily be corrupted by antigun rhetoric.
However, that’s not where the problems end.
You see, once you put this kind of campaign out there, funded by the taxpayers, you’re getting people used to the idea that how you store your firearms is somehow the government’s business, that it has a vested interest in what you do within the privacy of your own home. It normalizes this thinking and paves the way for safe storage laws.
Despite being a waste of taxpayer funds, it may well be used to justify gun control later on.
I know, I know, it sounds like I need to tighten the tinfoil, but we’ve already seen gun grabbers spend a great deal of time trying to justify gun control measures any way they can. Only a fool would think that this would somehow be immune to such an effort.
What concerns me is that it may happen if people come to believe that the government should have some say in how we store our firearms. That’s a significant problem, and why this line item needs to be vetoed.