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Anyone who knows me will admit that Governor Greg Abbott is not my favorite person. After winning a multi-million dollar lawsuit, he was instrumental in ending those very lawsuits in Texas. I think that his style as Attorney General of Texas of suing the Federal Government was a waste of taxpayer dollars as a stunt to prepare himself to be a front-runner for governor.
Most of all, I know that Abbott is an intelligent man and that he purposely misleads the people of Texas to remain in power.
His action on Jade Helm shows this. He knew that there was nothing amiss about the training exercise being held by the Defense Department. However, he knew that he could whip his right-wing base up by playing to it.
He knows that National Guard troops on the Texas Border with Mexico have no jurisdiction to apprehend or arrest anyone, but he recklessly spends money better spent on Texans. That is money that will not go to education, to health care, and to infrastructure. You know, things that a state government SHOULD be spending money on.
But, I digress. I could spend the rest of this article on Greg Abbott and his failings as Governor.
I want to concentrate on this one time that I find myself actually agreeing with him.
Yeah, I know, it makes me feel queasy too.
Governor Abbott and Gun Laws
Let’s do a quick recap of Abbott and the issue of Guns.
This is a man that is the NRA’s wet dream. He has consistently had an “A” rating with them. Meaning that if a piece of legislation crossed his desk legalizing weapons of mass destruction or tanks, chances are he would sign it. His first few months in office saw him legalize open carry for handguns and campus carry. Two bills he brags about on his website.
He even had the bad luck of a fundraiser give away of a Texas Made Shotgun that was dropped after the Santa Fe shooting.
I am not here today to argue the merits of either bill or his shotgun giveaway. The shotgun was just the bad luck of timing, it happens. Should candidates ever be giving away firearms as a donation? I do not think so. However, I will give Abbott the benefit of the doubt. As a candidate, I have been in the position of poorly timed remarks or actions.
But let’s look at what he has recently proposed. According to an NPR article, he starts off with the expected GOP talking points:
Abbott’s plan calls for adding school marshals — teachers who are licensed to carry firearms and go through training — as well as increasing the number of marshals per campus.
My thoughts on that one, of course, is Texas cannot even pass a bill that the courts don’t strike down that fund the schools, where are they going to find the money for this? But let’s move on.
Abbott said he also wants to change Texas law to promote responsible gun ownership and give officials more authority to seize guns.
The governor said he will ask the state legislature to consider a law “that would allow law enforcement, a family member, a school employee or a district attorney to file a petition in court seeking the removal of firearms from a person proven to be dangerous to himself or to others.”
Another proposal calls for requiring gun owners to report when their weapons are lost or stolen.
Umm. This is “Open Carry” Greg speaking?
As leaders often do after such an event, the governor asked for “prayers and support” for loved ones affected by the shooting. He also said, “We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families. It’s in Texas that we take action, to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated.”
I need a moment to collect myself. These are all reasonable proposals. I am not too keen on the Marshals in schools, but this is an amazing step in the right direction.
I will applaud the Governor on this, it is bold. And needed, Texas tops the list of states with the deadliest mass shootings in the US since 1948. Tied for second place are California and Florida.
Running the Ball Down the Field
The simple fact that both sides of the gun debate fail to realize is a simple fact: The US Constitution.
Our Founding Fathers deliberately designed a system in where only a compromise will work. American politics are not a parliamentarian style of government where the majority party can push whatever legislative agenda it wants despite the objections of the minority.
Neither side will get all their demands met. But to me, that is not as important as we move the ball, that we go beyond thoughts and prayers and look at lasting meaningful reform.
I have to say that some of Governor Abbott’s proposals are a real step in the right direction.
The Left has to realize that there will never be a successful attempt at banning all guns in America. One, it is logistically impossible; two, it is unfeasible, unconstitutional and dangerous. I have always felt that a person has a right to reasonable protection of their life, the lives of their loved ones, and their property. No laws should ever try and take that away.
The Right will have to give ground to the fact that there need to be more stringent laws on gun registration, mental health, and background checks. These are sensible steps to at least slow the proliferation of arms into the hands of those who are a danger to themselves and the community.
We will never have perfect laws that will stop every act of violence. That is a sad fact of life. However, we can find a balance between public safety and individual rights.
So, Governor Abbott may just have started a snowball fight in Texas, but I will wait to see if it is a blizzard or a mere election-year snow flurry.