Shortly after a select committee of the Texas Senate concluded its hearing on proposed “red flag” laws, the leader of the Texas Senate came out strongly against them.
In a statement, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick formally condemned the legislation, which Second Amendment advocates warned would lead to law abiding and innocent citizens being stripped of their rights without due process.
“Regarding the topic of ‘Red Flag’ laws, which was discussed today in the select committee, I have never supported these policies, nor has the majority of the Texas Senate. A bill offered last session garnered little support,” said Patrick in a statement.
“Governor Greg Abbott formally asked the legislature to consider ‘Red Flag’ laws in May so I added them to the charges I gave to the select committee. However, Gov. Abbott has since said he doesn’t advocate ‘Red Flag’ laws,” he added.
As Patrick noted, Abbott asked the Texas Legislature to study the issue in May following the shooting at Santa Fe high school, saying he wanted to pass legislation that would “keep guns out of the hands of those mentally unfit to bear arms, but only after legal due process is allowed to ensure Second Amendment rights are not violated.”
Texas Democrats claimed Abbott’s proposal meant an endorsement for one of their bills that had died during the previous legislative session. Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat Governor of New York has endorsed a similar proposal.
Since his initial announcement, Abbott has been silent on whether he, in fact, supports the Democrats’ bill, as they claim. However, their bill would not appear to fit within the governor’s demand that any such law protects due process and Second Amendment rights. It is hard to imagine one that would.
Abbott’s silence in the face of Democrats’ premature victory celebrations have concerned activists, leading them to aggressively push back against the proposal. For example, delegates to the Texas Republican Party convention passed several planks in the 2018 platform that essentially repudiate the red flag proposal line by line.
Meanwhile, activists within the Texas Democratic Party endorsed red flag laws in their own platform.
Patrick’s statement means that any such proposal is likely dead on arrival in the Texas Senate where he has tremendous influence, and, according to him, “a majority of the Texas Senate” is opposed.
Such a statement should be cause for celebration for many of the state’s conservative activists and the Texas GOP which both laid out strong stances against the passage of any “red flag” legislation. And their success should be an encouraging sign of things to come in the 86th Texas Legislature.