The Los Angeles Times notes that it was only four years ago that Texas Governor Greg Abbott was telling Texans to get strapped.
“I’m EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA,” Abbott tweeted. “Let’s pick up the pace Texans.”
But in the weeks following the recent wave of mass shootings in Texas, Abbott seemed to take more of an anti-gun turn.
Abbott went on Twitter to announce that “The Texas House & Senate are getting to work on laws to keep communities safe from gun violence” and potentially roll out new gun control measures. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is even flirting with the idea of universal background checks for all gun purchases.
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When considering all these factors, some gun control advocates see a shift in public opinion on gun control in Texas.
“The attitudes towards gun violence are changing in this state,” declared Ed Scruggs. Scruggs leads the board of the gun control organization Texas Gun Sense and is optimistic about the passage of expanded background checks and other civilian disarmament measures.
On the other hand, staunch Second Amendment supporters believe that the state’s rapidly changing politics may make the state more anti-gun.
“There is a great risk of more gun control laws getting passed,” stated C.J. Grisham, founder of Open Carry Texas. His organization has successfully lobbied for pro-gun laws such as legalized open carry in 2015. He added, “I worry that Gov. Greg Abbott may be feeling too much political pressure to do something.”
After the El Paso massacre, Abbott held a round-table discussion with gun control supporters and only invited one pro-gun lobbyist for the discussion. This move gravely concerned Grisham.
“That’s what worries us,” Grisham said. “He invited Texas Gun Sense, but he forgot to invite members of the grassroots gun rights community.”
With Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick willing to challenge the National Rife Association and support universal background checks, gun owners in Texas have every reason to be worried
“Someone in the Republican Party has to take the lead on this,” Patrick said.
The state’s changing demographics are a major concern, which was witnessed during the 2018 election where many urban districts went solidly blue. Certain demographic trends point to Texas and many part of the U.S. going more blue due to mass migration.
Grisham alluded to Texas’s refusal to join 16 others states — including South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Kentucky — which passed Constitutional Carry and now allow all law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm without having to beg the government for permission.
“We have a reputation for being pro-gun that we honestly don’t deserve,” he declared.
Derek Wills, the host of the pro-gun podcast Lone Star Gun Talk, also expressed concern about Texas Republican leaders caving into anti-gun pressure.
On one of his recent podcast episodes he criticized Texas Republican leaders as “weak on gun rights,” describing the governor as a “pushover.”
Right now, Texas is at a crossroads.
Either Republican leadership actually avoids the anti-gun pressure and goes on offense by passing pro-gun legislation or it becomes feckless and lets the Left control the terms of the debate and eventually start passing anti-gun legislation.
Now is definitely not the time for the Texas GOP to compromise.