Gun safety activists react to Abbott signing permitless carry

by | Jun 17, 2021 | Gun violence, Policy

At ten this morning temperatures in Dallas were already hitting ninety degrees, but that didn’t stop a group of dedicated gun safety activists from the local Moms Demand Action chapter from staging a press conference to call out Texas’s newest extreme gun legislation, also known as permitless carry, signed by Governor Greg Abbott.

Moms Demand Action is a grassroots organization dedicated to fighting for gun reform laws. They have several active chapters throughout Texas, and many Moms Demand Action activists have been vigilantly protesting at the Texas Capitol during this legislative session, one of the worst in recent memory for gun safety laws.

Donna Schmidt, the Local Chapter Lead for Moms Demand Action in Dallas kicked off the press conference by calling House Bill 1927, which Abbott signed yesterday, “one of the most dangerous laws yet.” HB 1927 allows anyone in the state of Texas who is over 21 years old to carry a handgun in public without a permit. It goes into effect in September.

Surrounded by fellow activists holding signs about how Abbott failed Texas, Schmidt pointed out that recent polling shows that 81 percent of Texans support the current permitting system. She also noted that in signing permitless carry, Abbott has “failed to back the blue.” Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia was one of several Texas law enforcement officials who denounced HB 1927 outside the Capitol in May.

Another speaker at the Dallas rally was Reverend R. Casey Shobe, from the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration. Shobe criticized Abbott for signing HB 1927 and other gun bills, which he said would increase violence even more around the state, and for holding a ceremony about the legislation at the Alamo.

After the rally concluded, Shobe spoke to the Texas Signal about how he considers HB 1927 to be an “appeasement” by Abbott to a conservative base. “He represents a tiny minority of the total populace but represents a significant majority in primary voting” said Shobe. “This is a pure political calculation that he has made to stay in office.”

Other rallies and demonstrations from Moms Demand Action volunteers happened all over the state including Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso, which was the site of a mass shooting in 2019. U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, blasted Abbott on Twitter. “Despite overwhelming support for gun violence prevention legislation, Republicans, led by a cowardly governor, are more interested in groveling for the gun lobby’s attention than they are in preventing gun violence and honoring victims and survivors in El Paso and across Texas,” wrote Escobar.

For the activists of the Moms Demand Action chapter in Dallas, Abbott’s signing of permitless carry is a stark reminder of what they are fighting for. Talking to the Texas Signal, Schmidt said she was not surprised that the Republican-led legislature passed HB 1927 or that Abbott would sign the bill. “This is what we see in Texas now: the extremes,” she said.

As to whether Schmidt has a message to Abbott on behalf of Moms Demand Action, she certainly does. “We won’t stop. We’re going to keep coming bigger and better.”

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A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).

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