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
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
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.