Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to promote gun safety is receiving criticism from Second Amendment groups who say the plan goes too far and tramples constitutional rights.
In the wake of the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School just last month, Abbott quickly organized a series of roundtable discussions to take action, telling reporters “we need more than prayers” to solve the problem of gun violence in schools.
In record time following those discussions, Abbott laid out his proposal, which calls for a variety of tactics to tamp down on such incidents, including active shooter drills, training for teachers and staff, and increasing the amount of armed guards on campus.
While some aspects of the plan generally went without objection, as activists have had the opportunity to read Abbott’s detailed proposal, many conservatives have sounded the alarm on parts of the proposal that call for a “red flag” law and de-facto gun storage requirements.
Last night, Grassroots America: We the People, a Tyler-based conservative organization spearheaded by JoAnn Fleming, released a rebuke of Abbott’s plan, accusing Texas of “leaning toward California when it comes to gun ‘safety’.”
In an email sent to activists across the state, Fleming criticized the roundtable process that led to the proposed plan:
We’ve spoken with several conservative legislators the last couple of days. We are incensed that NONE of the independent gun rights groups were invited to the Abbott table and that our conservative legislators were shut out of the conversation too. When gun control advocates leave the Governor’s meeting high-fiving each other, you know there’s a reason for concern.
Fleming then laid out four points of contention with the proposal:
1) His proposal creates a de facto mandatory storage law and makes every gun owner a potential felon.
2) His proposal makes it a potential felony to store a gun in your automobile.
3) His proposal will make it a potential felony to make firearms accessible to you or your properly-trained teenagers in the case of an emergency.
4) His proposal effectively outlaws unsupervised shooting by anyone under the age of 18, regardless of training or ability.
While Abbott explicitly stated he would not institute mandatory gun storage or gun locks, the details of his plan suggest a de-facto requirement due to his proposed changes to the state’s already-existing law, 46.13, regarding safe gun storage around children. GAWTP has a separate analysis of the changes to this provision alone.
Fleming also noted that the so-called “red-flag” proposal is cause for concern. Under the Democrats’ proposal for such a law, courts could confiscate Texans’ guns without notice or a hearing and extend such an order for up to two years without giving the accused a right to a jury or a right of appeal.
GAWTP’s analysis of Abbott’s proposed gun legislation heavily echoes a release made last week by the Texas Grassroots Gun Rights Coalition, an alliance consisting of the pro-gun groups Open Carry Texas, Lone Star Gun Rights, Texas Gun Rights, and Texas Firearms Freedom.
The coalition released a joint statement that similarly criticized both the process and several of the solutions proposed by Abbott, while adding, “We have 6 months between now and the next legislative session to engage in dialog with interested parties and the incoming House and Senate members” and committing to do so before the legislature returns.