Texas – -(Ammoland.com)- Dear Texas State Rifle Association Members, Family, and Friends:
Round Table Discussions at the Capitol This Week
On Wednesday, May 24th, Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) was invited by Governor Abbott to participate in a round table discussion on general safety strategies to identify problems and offer solutions for school shootings in Texas.
The press was not in the room for the nearly 4 hour meeting. We were encouraged by the Governor from the get-go to talk across the table with questions, comments and answers.
The round table included Lt. Governor Patrick, Senators Lucio and Schwertner and included Speaker of the House Joe Straus, plus Reps Four Price and Richard Raymond. A Court of Appeals Judge, the head of the Texas Education Agency, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Katy ISD, Sheriff Skinner from Collin County, the head of Texas Classroom Teachers Association and a dozen other specialists in their fields, most dealing with mental health and youth.
Ed Scruggs with Texas Gun Sense and I represented our positions on Gun-Related issues.
National associations and out of state opinions were not included, only those of us who represented Texans.
The press gathered outside the door but was not invited into the room for the first 3+ hours of the lengthy and open meeting.
The discussions focused on youth mental health, school building and campus configurations and how to develop an appropriate school safety program. Attendees brought up: metal detectors, dogs, involving the students in something like a Neighborhood Watch or Crime Stoppers styled program with follow up and we were told about an AP which had been developed to monitor and search social media for threats.
Gun issues were brought up near the end.
We discussed PC 46.13, a law on the books since 1995, dealing with child accessibility and parental accountability of a firearm. What was discovered is that over the past 23 years the law has been used only 62 times, total!
The questions are why is this tool of law not being utilized by prosecutors and judges when and where appropriate? Is the existing language flawed?
Fortunately we're not in Legislative Session and there is time for discussion, investigation and review.
Another firearm related topic was a red-flag emergency order of protection for someone threatening physical harm to themselves or others.
There are many types of protective orders and my questions included, “What's missing from current law?” This too needs further investigation.
Due process is the basic requirement; if a person is believed to be mentally ill and a danger, that person must be assessed immediately by one or more mental health professionals, possibly their own. Allegations won't get it!
During the last session we fought down HB 866, filed by Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso, who explained his bill to be a mental health emergency order of protection. The bill was vague and the only specific directive was confiscation of firearms. There was no mental health component of any kind!
The discussions during the round table were frank and open and included a comment that firearms are a black market item available even in rural high schools and sometimes stolen on demand
When it came to school safety plans, a plan is a work in progress and never a one-size fits all.
Senator Lucio commented that no one could imagine airport security until 911 and now it's simply a fact of life. I added that I had watched security at the Capitol evolve over the years from the simple presence of DPS to metal detectors and dogs, limited entry and yet licensees are still able to move about in the building, unrestricted. I was not prohibited from carrying into the Governor's mansion at Christmas.
In Texas our version of logic is pretty basic.
When Ed Scruggs (TGS) laid out his ideas, he suggested a state based background check system and insisted that everyone in Texas wanted this to include “universal background checks”, meaning all transfer of ownership. He said 94% of Texans agree with him.
I jumped up and explained that this is not the case and more so after Sutherland Springs where it was discovered that the NICS system had been seriously flawed for the previous 20 years.
At 5:30, Governor Abbott allowed the large media presence into the meeting room and he spoke.
He said the discussions had included gun control, school safety strategies, and the mental health of youth. Many of us were stopped by media as we left and as you know the press writes what sells and they often fill in the blanks.
The meeting was very interesting and very productive from the perspective of information gathering.
About our Governor:
Governor Greg Abbott is the best.
He was a judge, a Texas Supreme Court Justice, and the Attorney General.
As the attorney general, Abbott organized an Amicus Brief in support of Heller v DC which was signed by Republican attorneys general across the country.
In addition his office took over the negotiation of reciprocal agreements for Texas licensees. The next 29 states added to the list, allowing Texas licensees to carry, happened because of his supervision.
Abbott told the Legislature if they passed unlicensed carry, he'll sign it.
Thank you, Governor Abbott, a friend to Texas and to Texas gun owners
TSRA members, Thank you for upgrading and renewing your membership and thank you for donations to TSRA.com and to TSRAPAC.com
Keep the faith,
Texas State Rifle Association-PAC
About Texas State Rifle Association:
The Mission of the Texas State Rifle Association is to protect and defend the inalienable rights of the individual Texan to acquire, possess, transport, carry, transfer ownership and enjoy the right to lawful use of firearms for self preservation, for the defense of family and property and the common defense of the Republic and the individual liberties of the people. Visit: www.TSRA.com