Abbott has a public safety problem on his hands

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Gov. Greg Abbott recently sent out a fundraising letter calling his supporters to arms to “defend” against illegal immigration. The real threat is lone-wolf white gunmen. 

The Lone Star State made national headlines again Saturday with the mass shooting in Midland-Odessa. Before that, only four weeks prior, a white supremacist killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart. Last year, Texas was again in the spotlight for the Santa Fe school shooting that left 10 dead, which followed the Sutherland Springs church massacre in 2017 that took 27 lives.

The reaction to these high-profile attacks by the Republican governor and GOP-controlled legislature has been embarrassing for Texas. They have gone light on policy when it comes to keeping communities safe — and heavy on more rifles, roundtables, and rhetoric. 

“As Governor Abbott and other elected officials send their thoughts and prayers and point fingers at the gunmen, they should be looking in the mirror as the laws he helped craft contribute to guns coming in and out of our communities,” Amber Goodwin, founder and executive director of Community Justice Action Fund, said in a statement Sunday.

Also on Sunday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said mass shootings “absolutely are a homeland security threat.”

It’s not just guns. It’s broader acts of violence or terror on the GOP’s watch. A white nationalist group marched through downtown Dallas earlier this month. Hate crimes in the state  have increased since 2016, according to the FBI. And a Texas Department of Public Safety report says one of the most violent gang on the planet, MS-13, uses Texas as a safe house. Isn’t the Republican Party supposed to be tough on crime?

On gun violence prevention, a Texas Signal reader has a proposal. 

“Since Texas is a legal open gun carry state, wouldn’t it be something if Texas gun owners who believe in common sense gun laws rally up in front of the governor’s home and shoot their weapons up in the air all while chanting ‘thoughts and prayers?’” the reader wrote on Facebook.

There are plenty of gun-owning Democrats and responsible Republicans who want reasonable restrictions on assault rifles. They should demand Abbott call a special session of the legislature — even amid the scandal with the Speaker of the House — and take a zero-tolerance stance on violence. 

The same goes for pressuring Sen. John Cornyn when Congress returns from its recess this month. “The Republican Senate must end its obstruction and finally pass the commonsense, bipartisan, House-passed gun violence prevention legislation that the country is demanding,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this weekend. 

It’s not like the mass shootings in Texas, or around the country, are just going to stop. Epidemics keep spreading unless everyone collectively decides to stop them. 

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