How Texas Tackles Gun Control
State politicians propose solutions ranging from arming teachers to praying for protection.
Gun control—always a hot-button issue—has evoked some particularly incendiary responses following President Barack Obama’s new policy proposals. While universal background checks appear to have widespread support, the common perception is that his game plan for gun control faces an uphill battle in Washington.
Never ones to be outdone by federal tinkering, public servants in Texas have already started firing back with proposals and solutions of their own. Here are a few of big ideas that have been bandied about:
Is the best person to stop a homicidal school shooter a professor packing heat? Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has proposed a state-funded program that would provide specialized firearms training for teachers and school administrators.
Dewhurst said, “With the increased violence we’ve seen in public schools in recent years, we must do everything we can to protect the safety and well-being of our most precious possession—our children.”
In a speech given to the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation January 11, Dewhurst emphasized that the training would have to be extensive, preparing teachers on how to react technically and emotionally in an active shooter situation, according to the Associated Press.
The proposal, which Dewhurst did not detail thoroughly, would have to alter current state law in Texas, which generally does not permit guns on school grounds.
Governor Rick Perry also expressed support for arming teachers in a recent Tea Party forum, wrote Gary Scharrer and Ericka Mellon for the Houston Chronicle.
Invite Gun Lovers to Texas
If you can’t beat them, have them join you. That’s how the saying goes, right?
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott unleashed an ad campaign in Albany and Manhattan January 16, which encourages New Yorkers who are dissatisfied with their state’s gun laws to relocate to Texas.
This came a day after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms (SAFE) Act, the first significant gun control measures enacted in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, wrote Greg Howard for the Village Voice.
The campaign targets different media platforms in New York’s capitol and largest metroplex, and includes this ad:
Eric Bearse, Abbott’s spokesman, told the Daily Beast:
The ad is inviting New Yorkers to come to Texas because we believe that the Constitution is sacred, and there to protect Americans from whimsical and knee jerk reactions by political leaders. And obviously citizens of New York are facing the prospect of further restrictions on the ownership of firearms.
The ads were paid for with Abbott’s campaign funds, according to the Houston Chronicle.
When the government can’t protect you from gun-slinging lunatics, then it’s up to the Almighty.
In a statement issued following President Obama’s new policy proposals, Perry suggested that prayer is the best means of protection:
As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children.
Perry’s statement was more than a call for spiritual fortitude. He also expressed his position on the matter of gun control using some strong words:
The piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally. The Second Amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president.
Supercede Federal Law
State representative Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) announced January 14 that he will file a bill that makes it illegal to enforce “any federal law banning semi-automatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the state’s boundaries,” Shushannah Walsh wrote for ABC News.
The “Firearms Protection Act” will serve the purpose of “assisting the protection of the Second Amendment,” Toth wrote in his news release. Supposedly, the bill would allow state police officers to arrest any federal law enforcement agent who attempts to enforce federal bans on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines within Texas, wrote John Celock for the Huffington Post.
Toth says the bill is intended to battle any executive order that Obama may put into action without Congressional support. Toth wrote:
We can no longer depend on the Federal Government and this Administration to uphold a Constitution that they no longer believe in. The liberties of the People of Texas and the sovereignty of our State are too important to just let the Federal Government take them away. The overreach of the federal administration’s executive orders that are do not align with the Constitution, are not very popular here in Texas.
Cops arresting cops: now there is an idea as big as Texas. Certainly, nothing bad has ever happened in a confrontation between state and federal power.