Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday that he could support some gun control measures, following the most recent deadly shooting at a high school near Houston that left 10 people dead.
Abbot had previously supported Trump’s proposal to further arm teachers instead of increased gun control measures. Educators are trained and armed in 20% of Texas schools already.
Just yesterday, Abbott said he could back stronger regulations for gun storage and quicker reporting to law enforcement when a court has determined someone is mentally ill — in order to keep that person from having weapons.
“We have one goal … making sure we’re going to keep to our students, our schools, our communities safer,” without limiting the right to bear arms, Abbott said.
Abbott called for meetings as he weighs ideas for possible legislative action or executive orders. Tuesday focused on mental health issues. Wednesday’s three-hour discussion involved representatives of Texas Gun Sense, which has pressed for tougher background checks for gun sales and “red flag” laws that keep guns away from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Thursday’s meeting will include students and families from the shooting at Santa Fe High School and the November 2017 attack on a rural church in Sutherland Springs, as well as Stephen Willeford, the armed “good Samaritan” who shot back at the church shooter.
The governor has said he wants to keep guns away from people “who would try to murder our children.” But critics have said Texas isn’t serious about changing its gun-loving culture.
Police have said the 17-year-old suspect in the Santa Fe shooting used his father’s shotgun and .38-caliber handgun. Abbott said he and lawmakers need to look at how to address gun storage laws that might have prevented the shooter from getting the weapons.
Texas allows authorities to deny handgun licenses based on a person’s mental health history and to seize weapons from people determined to be in a mental crisis in some circumstances. But mental health history information is up to the applicant to provide and is not related to the purchase of a gun.
Texas courts are supposed to tell law enforcement if a person taken in for a mental health evaluation has been ordered into a mental hospital. Weapons seized could be returned to that person’s family. Abbott said that reporting could take up to 30 days and he’d like to see that window closed to within 48 hours or less.
Federal law prohibits an individual “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility from owning or purchasing a firearm.
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