In a change of heart after the Santa Fe school shooting, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that he could support some new gun control measures in his state. Abbott is a Republican who has always worked to expand gun rights and has been against any form of gun control laws or regulations.
After the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead Abbott came out in support of the idea of arming more teachers as the best way to improve school safety. He also said the focus needs to be on mental health and not on gun control laws.
“When a shooting takes place, people want to rush to simple solutions,” he said in February. “It’s time to tackle the tough solutions, and that’s mental health.”
On Wednesday, however, Abbott said he would be in favor of better regulation of gun storage and also better reporting to law enforcement officials after a determination has made that an individual gun owner is no longer mentally fit to own weapons.
Abbott said he had been meeting with gun control groups, gun owners, mental health experts and professional educators after the Santa Fe shooting to engage in conversations about school safety. He said after lengthy discussions they had come up with their list of the best ideas. His most recent focus has been mental health although he has been considering various other legislative actions or executive orders that he could implement.
“We have one goal … making sure we’re going to keep to our students, our schools, our communities safer,” without limiting the right to bear arms, Abbott said.
On Thursday he will hold a meeting that will include students and families of students from Santa Fe High School. He will also include survivors and family members of victims of the November 2017 gun massacre at a rural church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Abbott’s critics have accused him and others in Texas of not being serious about changing its gun-loving culture. The governor received a letter on Wednesday from a group of students who organized gun control marches after the Parkland shooting in February. They wrote:”We are dying on your watch. What will you do about it?” They are calling for stricter background checks and other new gun control laws.