By now, we’re all too familiar with how things play out. There’s a mass shooting, followed by days and weeks of examination of just what happened and who the shooter was overlapped with lawmakers and activists making all kinds of suggestions about what really went wrong and how to fix it. In particular, anti-gunners will jump up and start demanding new laws before we know anything about anything. They call for universal background checks before we learn the killer bought it at a gun store. They call for an assault weapon ban before we learn the shooter used a pistol.
However, sometime after that, we start to get to some semi-serious discussion. The anti-gunners are still pushing for new gun control laws and little else, but that’s just what they do. Others get to work trying to find just what happened and what can be done to try and prevent it from happening again.
It seems we’ve started to enter that stage after El Paso.
Following through on plans for roundtable discussions after a mass shooting in El Paso left 22 dead, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced the creation of the Texas Safety Commission to offer advice leading to “an immediate action plan” for state leaders.
Abbott said he wants the commission to develop ideas on combating the rise of extremist groups, fighting domestic terrorism and keeping guns away from “deranged individuals.”
“The state of Texas will not relent in its effort to help the El Paso community heal and keep all Texans safe,” Abbott said in a written statement.
The panel also will be asked to discuss laws and other legislative action to prevent mass shootings and domestic terror attacks, Abbott said. The Legislature next meets in January 2021, and Abbott thus far has rejected Democratic pressure to call a special session to address issues of gun violence.
The first Texas Safety Commission meeting will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol. A second meeting will be Aug. 29 in El Paso. Parts of the meetings will be open to reporters.
Now, expect some to try to turn this commission into a gun-grabbing free-for-all. Again, that’s just what anti-gunners do.
However, there’s also a possibility that the commission can sit down and work out some real, workable solutions. Mass shooters and domestic terrorists–and even if his ideology was a muddled mix of environmentalism and racism, the El Paso shooter does appear to have been a domestic terrorist–aren’t going to be motivated the same way. By saying they’re looking to prevent both, rather than pretending they’re the same issue, there’s a chance something workable might come out of this.
Of course, I don’t expect a lot. I think there will be some good, solid ideas presented and possibly even passed by the legislature. However, these problems are complex and it’s going to take a while before we find the right mix of solutions to both put an end to mass shootings and to prevent an epidemic of domestic terrorism.