Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is receiving support from some unusual places while he continues his campaign against gun owners and the National Rifle Association.
In response to a tweet by Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan in which he highlighted Patrick’s “proposal” for expanding government background checks on private firearm sales, Patrick fired back by defending his position. He accused Sullivan—and others who oppose his gun-control proposal—of wanting firearms to be sold to violent felons.
You know my plan exempts family and friends, so apparently you are fine with selling your guns to total strangers who can’t pass a background check because they could be a violent felon or someone bent on mass violence. BTW, release the tape. You are destroying our party.
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) September 17, 2019
That tweet received a lot of attention from conservatives, who saw the post as yet another attack on gun owners whom Patrick has been at war with in recent weeks. In response, many Texans, including former State Rep. Matt Rinaldi and conservative talk-show host Dana Loesch, took to Twitter to fire back.
. @DanPatrick’s proposal is a gun registry. FFLs are required to fill out ATF Form 4473 & keep them on file for 20 yrs. Requiring bkgd checks for all sales would create a complete record of transfers & destroy the biggest logistical barrier to confiscation. #txlege #2A #tcot
— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) September 17, 2019
Respectfully, @DanPatrick , please explain how one establishes criminalizes federally regulated private transfers (UCBs) without establishing a registry. I have invited you repeatedly to discuss this with me on my broadcast via my producer and have yet to receive a response. #2A https://t.co/1yuw68nOGl
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) September 17, 2019
Not all responses were negative, however. In a turn of events that would have been unbelievable just one year ago, Patrick has received praise from those on the left—including Scott Milder, his former Republican primary opponent who went on to endorse Patrick’s Democrat challenger.
I don’t normally compliment LtGov @DanPatrick, but he’s earned my appreciation on this subject. I agree with the LtGov on both subjects mentioned. From @scottbraddock @quorumreport pic.twitter.com/NY1sS200K9
— Scott Milder (@smilder) September 17, 2019
Steve Riddell, a liberal Democrat running in the race to replace State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford), also went out of his way to say he was surprised to see himself agreeing with the lieutenant governor.
Today I find myself agreeing with Dan Patrick. These are strange times.
— Steve Riddell (@S_RiddellTX92) September 17, 2019
Meanwhile, some Democrat activists have viewed Patrick’s stake as evidence that Texas may indeed turn blue.
Wow, what is happening. Our Lt. Gov Dan Patrick is on the side of gun background checks for stranger to stranger sales and arguing about it on Twitter. You think the tide isn't changing? It is. Thank you @MomsDemand @AMarch4OurLives @davidhogg111 @BetoORourke #Beto2020 https://t.co/vN28n93k8r
— C Foote (@technolibrary) September 17, 2019
Gross. I agree with Dan Patrick. I need a shower.
— Tricia Cave (@tdcave) September 17, 2019
@DanPatrick thank u for showing the courage to take a stand when it comes to common sense background checks. I don't agree with u most of time, but u showed me a flash of backbone in doing the right thing.
— this is going to leave a mark! (@enigmalarson) September 17, 2019
With U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and several conservative lawmakers in the Texas Legislature seemingly opposing Patrick’s campaign for expanded background checks, it remains to be seen how long the lieutenant governor will continue his crusade.