On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott released a list of suggestions for the state legislature on gun violence, following roundtable meetings in the wake of the El Paso and Odessa shootings.
Dubbed the “Texas Safety Action Report,” many of Abbott’s suggestions are either broad, such as his request to consider expediting the reporting of criminal convictions to the Texas Department of Public Safety” or duplicative, like prohibiting the straw purchases of firearms under state law—something already illegal under Federal law.
Most immediately notable in his list of recommendations, however, concerns expanding background checks of person-to-person sales.
While Lt. Gov Dan Patrick has been waging war against gun owners and advocacy groups such as the National Rifle Association over the past week over his support for expanding mandatory government background checks on private firearm sales, the governor took a markedly different tact.
Instead, Abbott recommends that “The Legislature should consider ways to make it easy, affordable, and beneficial for a private seller of firearms to voluntarily use background checks when selling firearms to strangers.”
That flies in the face of Patrick’s proposed policy, which just earlier this week he said was “the right thing to do.”
“I am sorry that some of my allies in the battle to protect our Second Amendment rights are angry about this—but … the National Rifle Association is just wrong on this,” said Patrick on Sunday. “Their refusal to compromise on this issue will only hurt our long-term defense of the Second Amendment.”
Not included in Abbott’s report are so-called “red flag laws,” which would confiscate guns from those suspected to have mental illnesses without due process. Though Abbott instructed the legislature to investigate such a solution in 2018 following the Santa Fe High School shooting, they were quickly killed by Patrick and other lawmakers after an uproar from gun rights advocates across the state.
Now it appears, at least for the time being, that Abbott has moved to the right of Patrick on the Second Amendment.