Texas has long been known as a bastion for Second Amendment rights, and the state's consistent Republican leadership over the past 25 years has largely kept that reputation intact. But in recent years, gun rights advocates have cast a wary eye on the state's GOP leaders for proposals that lean toward gun control. Gov. Greg Abbott suggested a so-called red flag law as part of his proposal to reduce school shootings in the wake of the 2018 Santa Fe High School massacre. Then last year, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick came out in support of mandating background checks for private gun sales in the aftermath of the El Paso Walmart mass shooting.
Both Abbott and Patrick received strong pushback from gun rights advocates for their proposals. Abbott ended up dropping the red flag proposal, and the 2019 legislative session ended up strengthening gun rights. Patrick's comments came after the session was over, but he was strongly criticized by the NRA and others.
Alan Korwin, gun rights expert with gunlaws.com, is glad Abbott came to his senses. "Red flag laws are so bad, there's no explanation as to why any reasonable politician would support them," he says. "You can stop a person with existing laws if they intend to commit murder or mass murder...you don't need new law."
Furthermore, despite all of the increased scrutiny of firearms after the Santa Fe and El Paso mass shootings, the latest Texas Tribune poll of Texas voters shows little change in attitudes toward gun control. In all, about half of voters support stricter gun laws, with more than 80 percent of Democrats and less than a quarter of Republicans in support.
Korwin believes Texans are often unfairly portrayed as gun fanatics. "They're not fanatical about guns, they're fanatical about infringement, which is banned by the Constitution...but we have politicians who infringe on our rights," he tells KTRH. "(Texans) should be fanatical about any infringement on their rights, because your rights are precious."