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TX Gov to Tackle Gun Control in Talks  05/23 06:11

   AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's meetings on school violence 
and safety promised to wade into the thorny issue of gun control with the next 
round, even though the Republican has been a staunch supporter of gun rights 
and worked to expand them in the state in recent years.

   Abbott called for a series of high-level policy meetings after a high school 
near Houston became the latest to have a mass shooting. Eight students and two 
teachers were killed last week at Santa Fe High School and more than a dozen 

   Wednesday's meeting will include representatives of gun control group Texas 
Gun Sense and the Texas State Rifle Association, which is affiliated with the 
National Rifle Association. A Texas Gun Sense official has said the group will 
press for tougher background checks for gun sales, and "red flag" laws that 
keep guns away from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

   But the gun-related groups are just two of the two dozen invited to attend. 
Like Tuesday's meeting, Wednesday looks to have a heavy discussion on tracking 
student mental health.

   Abbott says he wants to keep guns away from people "who would try to murder 
our children." But critics say Texas isn't serious about changing its 
gun-loving culture.

   The governor has long championed expanding gun rights in Texas, signing 
bills in recent years that reduced the cost and training to get a handgun 
license, and allowing the state's 1.2 million license holders to openly carry 
their weapons in public. Texas also allows rifles to be openly carried in 
public. Those bills were strongly supported by the NRA affiliate attending 
Wednesday's meeting.

   Police have said the 17-year-old suspect in the Santa Fe High School 
shooting used his father's shotgun and .38-caliber handgun.

   The reaction in Texas to the shooting stands in sharp contrast to the 
response after the Feb. 14 rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that 
killed 17 people. Three weeks after that mass shooting, Florida politicians 
defied the NRA and passed a gun-control package after a lobbying campaign led 
by student survivors of the attack.


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