Monday, May 21, 2018|2:35 p.m.
AUSTIN, Texas– Texas has more than 1.2 million licensed handgun owners who can freely carry their weapons in public. The state hosted the National Rifle Association’s annual conference 2 weeks earlier. And up until Monday, the guv’s re-election site was raffling off a shotgun.
Weapons are so hard-wired into Texas culture that recently’s deadly rampage at Santa Fe High School is thought about not likely to lead to any significant limitations on access to weapons in the Lone Star State.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott reacted to the killings of 8 trainees and 2 instructors by requiring a series of roundtable conversations on school safety, beginning Tuesday in Austin. He stated last week that he wishes to discover methods to keep weapons away from those who present an “instant danger to others.”
But the state’s 20-year dominance by the Republican Celebration all but guarantees the conferences will be dominated by calls to increase school security and “harden” schools– an idea backed by the NRA– rather of demands for gun limitations, stated Cal Jillson, government professor at Southern Methodist University.
That’s in sharp contrast to the reaction to the Feb. 14 shooting rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. 3 weeks after the bloodbath, Florida politicians defied the NRA and passed a weapon control bundle after a lobbying project led by student survivors of the attack.
” The difference in Texas is the Republican Party is in complete control. It is unchallenged at the state level,” Jillson stated. “Even the youths from Santa Fe are not full-throated supporters of weapon control to keep the children safe.”
In reality, at a church service Sunday, Santa Fe High student Monica Bracknell, who made it through the shooting, informed the guv the attack need to not be developed into a fight over gun control.
” People are making this into a political concern,” she stated. “This is not a political concern. It’s not a gun-law issue.”
Likewise, Callie Wylie, a 16-year-old Santa Fe High student who dropped off flowers Monday at a memorial for the shooting victims, stated the violence is not a “gun issue.”
” Certainly things have to change. Something needs to happen. This has actually occurred method too much,” Wylie said. “However I don’t think at this time individuals have to be pressing politics on us and telling us, ‘Oh, this is weapon control.'”
Sentiments like those could give Abbott political cover if his roundtable conversations do not cause significant modifications.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, is imprisoned on murder charges in Friday’s attack. Authorities stated the Santa Fe High trainee opened fire with his dad’s shotgun and.38-caliber pistol.
Gun control advocates around the nation have long pushed for such steps as broadened background checks and a ban on attack rifles and high-capacity magazines, but such procedures would most likely have had no impact on the Santa Fe High shooting.
Abbott has said he wants the roundtable discussions to include lawmakers, educators, students, parents, gun-rights supporters and survivors of the November church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that killed two lots people.
Tuesday’s meeting will include officials from school districts that equip some teachers or agreement with local cops for security. The guv’s workplace said most of the conference will be held in personal.
Abbott and Texas Republicans have welcomed a consistent relaxation of guns laws over the last few years. Since 2013, Texas has actually reduced the cost and hours of training needed to be licensed to carry a handgun, enabled “open carry” for handgun license holders, and permitted concealed handguns in college class and dormitories.
In 2015, Abbott tweeted that it was “embarrassing” that Texas dragged California in gun sales. In 2017, he extolled his precision with a handgun at a shooting variety.
On Monday, Abbott’s re-election project downsized its shotgun raffle in the wake of the Santa Fe shooting, replacing it with a raffle for a $250 present certificate. A picture of the governor aiming a shotgun was eliminated.
After the Florida tragedy, President Donald Trump arranged conversations on the best ways to prevent school shootings and at least mentioned the idea of limiting gun sales, however little concrete came out of those. Abbott so far has devoted to even less.
Texas holds main overflows Tuesday, meanwhile, and the Santa Fe shooting is not anticipated to be a deciding consider any significant race, simply as the Sutherland Springs massacre hardly registered as a project issue before last week.
And it’s not just Republicans. Former Dallas County Sherriff Lupe Valdez, who is favored to win Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial runoff and face Abbott in November, has required stricter background checks and closing of gun sale loopholes.
However she was quick to include: “That doesn’t imply I’m against weapons. I have actually worn a weapon over 40 years. It indicates I’m against stupidity.”
In a letter to the guv on Monday, Democratic state legislators urged Abbott to consider weapon control procedures that cannot pass in previous sessions.
Still, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, an attorney who is preferred to win a runoff for the Democratic election in a potentially flippable, Republican-held congressional district in Houston, not far from where Friday’s shooting occurred, avoided slamming the guv for refraining from doing more than arranging discussions.
” I hope that these conversations move us closer to genuine reform,” Fletcher stated Monday. “Our lives depend on it.”
Associated Press writer Claire Galofaro in Santa, Fe, Texas, contributed to this report.