I guess we can now count Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as one who is beginning to see a glimmer of daylight in the search for some way to curb gun violence in this country.
Abbott has called for repairing the background check procedure and for ways to improve mental health screening on those who seek to purchase firearms.
The governor’s remarks today were his first public comments since the Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people.
According to the Texas Tribune: “It’s clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and everybody in every state must take action,” Abbott told reporters in Austin after voting early in the GOP primary.
The governor said Texas gun safety standards should be reviewed to see whether they need updating. He added that government leaders need to empower local law enforcement to recognize “red flags.”
It appears to me that we are witnessing some fissures appearing in Republican politicians’ reluctance to speak publicly about gun safety reform and other potential legislative remedies to curb the spasm of gun violence that has taken far too many lives already. For far too long we have witnessed GOP politicians back away from offering governmental solutions, seemingly out of fear at how the gun lobby might retaliate against them.
Not this time. Maybe. Perhaps.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said “everything is on the table” regarding gun violence legislation immediately after the massacre; then came Donald Trump’s directive to the Justice Department to draft regulations that would end bump stocks; then, today, Gov. Abbott weighed in with a call for stricter background check and mental health screening.
Are these massive, landmark steps that signal a sea change? Probably not. They are baby steps. They are welcome nevertheless.
At minimum we are witnessing an important discussion that is commencing one state at a time. I’m glad to know that Texas’s political leadership has joined in.