As Democrats call for a special session to clamp down on Texans’ gun rights in the wake of last week’s tragic shooting at a Uvalde elementary school, Gov. Greg Abbott has requested that leaders of the state Legislature create special committees charged with developing recommendations on “school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety, and more.”
“As Texans mourn the tragedy that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last week, we as a State must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence,” Abbott said in a letter to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan. “As leaders, we must come together at this time to provide solutions to protect all Texans. Accordingly, I hereby request that each of you convene a special legislative committee. I look forward to working with you both on this important mission to make Texas safer, and I stand ready to provide any and all support.”
In 2018, following a shooting at Santa Fe High School, Abbott called on the Legislature to examine so-called “red flag” laws that would strip law-abiding citizens of their firearms, plunging them into a years-long battle against the court without any trial by jury or right to appeal.
That proposal was quickly shot down by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick after a special committee hearing in which Second Amendment advocates vigorously opposed the proposal.
This time, Abbott’s charges are considerably more broad, giving both chambers of the Legislature latitude on which issues to study. Chris McNutt, the executive director of Texas Gun Rights, says that brings concern.
“Let me be clear: the pro-gun community, law-abiding citizens, will refuse to be punished for the actions of a deranged killer,” McNutt told Texas Scorecard.
“Instead of proposing new gun control, we should be discussing the repeal of the dangerous gun control that enabled this horrific tragedy in the first place: we must get rid of ‘gun free’ criminal safety zones. Law-abiding citizens are nothing more than sitting ducks for a deranged killer in these dangerous zones, and our lawmakers in Austin and Washington need to do away with them.”
Abbott has not indicated whether he will call a special session on the issue.