While there may be more pro-gun states than Texas, there are few that have the pro-gun reputation that Texas has. There are still a handful of gun control measures on the books there in the state and some lawmakers seem little interested in changing that.
However, the reputation exists for a reason. Texas is one state I’ve never really had to worry about when it came to passing gun control. It just wasn’t the Texas way.
Well, it might happen anyway.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday raised concern about private firearm sales but didn’t commit to crack down on them or act on gun control issues following a meeting on ways to prevent mass shootings such as the El Paso attack that killed 22 people.
While lawmakers are feeling pressure to respond quickly to the Aug. 3 shooting at a Walmart, Abbott signaled that Texas would take a long and careful look at gun laws and other safety measures before its Legislature next meets in 2021.
Scrutinizing private guns sales was among a list of ideas Abbott rattled off after emerging from a four-hour, closed-door meeting about the El Paso shooting with lawmakers, police and representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter.
He also floated the idea of “welfare checks” when worries are raised about people with access to firearms. Authorities have said the mother of the suspected El Paso gunman, 21-year-old [name redacted so as to minimize the fame these jackwagons get for this crap], had called police weeks before the attack to express concern about her son buying an “AK” style rifle.
“Right now there is nothing in law that would prevent one stranger from selling a gun to a terrorist, and obviously that’s a danger that needs to be looked into,” Abbott said.
While it wasn’t an outright call for gun control, it’s still concerning.
That said, in the wake of such a deadly shooting–especially when the state may still be dealing with the fallout from the Santa Fe High School shooting–such talk probably isn’t all that unusual. In fact, it’s probably to be expected.
What matters more, though, is just what Abbott will do.
My concern is that by framing this as an anti-terrorism move, he’s already convinced himself to move on something like universal background checks. It sounds like he’s already framed it in his mind in a way he can support it while still at least claiming to adhere to his principles. Moreover, he may be framing it in his mind in a way he thinks the people of Texas can accept.
After all, no one supports arming terrorists.
The problem is, it’s impossible to prevent potential domestic terrorists from buying guns. There’s nothing in the El Paso shooter’s history that would have barred him from buying a gun. Thus far, there’s no evidence he didn’t pass a background check to purchase that gun, though it’s possible he didn’t. He would have, though, so make no mistake.
Abbott is caught in a tough spot. He’s getting a lot of pressure to Do Something (TM). Universal background checks look like a relatively easy bone to throw at those applying the pressure.
He should vigorously resist that pressure. Universal background checks won’t stop bad people from doing bad things. It will interfere with law-abiding people buying guns, though.