Gov. Abbott said as President Trump visited El Paso that more action should be taken by a pro-active' state legisalture to deal with mass shootings, an indication that the governor may be included to call a special session to deal with the issue in the wake of the El Paso shooting.
Abbott said the DPS will start 'identifying potential terrorists, hate groups, and racists who may pose a threat to anyone.' He is also calling for the banning of 8chan and other websites which focus on people who promote 'racist ideologies.' The governor also suggested 'coming up with ways to keep guns away from deranged people without violating the Second Amendment.'
This comes as several Republican lawmakers are expressed a 'willingness' to start listening to arguments in favor of 'Red Flag laws,' which are currently in place in 17 states, but not Texas or Ohio. They allow an individual to report, in some cases anonymously, that a person is a 'danger' and a judge can allow that person's firearms to be seized for up to a year.
U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert, an east Texas Republican with a solid NRA rating, told a TV station, "there are some red flag laws when people are intentionally not just saying they are going to do something, but take some action it ought to send up red flags that we could do something about.”
Sen. John Cornyn, following a conference call with the FBI director, said laws like that are 'something we need to discuss.'
The comments come as the lawyer for the parents of the El Paso gunman revealed that the 21 year old's mother called police in Allen several weeks ago and expressed her concern that her son had just purchased an 'assault style rifle.' She said she was concerned about her son's immaturity and his lack of experience with firearms.
But the lawyer says police told the woman that the man was 21 years old and was old enough to own a weapon legally. The gun was also purchased legally in the Allen area.
Experts say it is unclear whether a conversation like that would have been enough to trigger action under 'Red Flag' laws.
The gunman apparently posted on 8chan a manifesto expressing his hatred for 'the brown invasion' about 20 minutes before opening fire in the parking lot of the El Paso Walmart, killing 22 people. That was clearly not enough time for any action to be taken.
Gun rights groups strongly oppose Red Flag laws, saying they can be used by a vindictive relative or neighbor to use the courts to seize property from somebody they don't like, with no indication that a crime has been committed.
The Texas State Rifle Association calls them 'your ex mother in law doesn't like you so we're going to take your guns away' laws, and says they are unconstitutional.