Patterson on Governor Abbott’s Post Santa Fe Gun Proposals

Gregg Abbott has been a friend to Second Amendment supporters in Texas. After the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School, he held several meetings to come up with suggestions to improve school safety.

In the Longview News-Journal, former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson writes that these firearm-related measures are what Governor Abbot will send to the legislature as part of his plan. And Patterson contends that none of these measures will infringe on Second Amendment rights.

1. Closing reporting gaps for federal background checks by creating a case management system for Texas judges.

2. Encouraging the Legislature to carefully study the possible creation of a “red flag” law to permit the removal of firearms from a potentially dangerous person — only after legal due process is provided, and on a temporary basis.

3. Requiring the courts to report within 48 hours any judgment, protective order or family violence conviction affecting the right to legally purchase and possess firearms.

4. Strengthening the state’s existing safe firearm storage law by changing the definition of “child” to include 17-year-olds, clarifying that secure storage of a loaded or unloaded firearm around children is required, and increasing the penalty level from a Class A misdemeanor to a 3rd-degree felony when access results in death or serious bodily injury.

5. Promoting the voluntary use of devices to secure firearms.

6. Requiring gun owners to report within 10 days when their firearms are lost or stolen to aid law enforcement.

As Patterson notes, you have to see the actual wording of legislation to critically assess its impacts. Nonetheless, there are areas that raise serious concerns about Abbott’s propositions. To wit:

1. Closing reporting gaps for federal background checks by creating a case management system for Texas judges.

Much depends on the details here. The entire background check system needs to be reformed from the current presumption of guilt to a presumption of innocence. Instead of a person attempting to prove that they’re allowed to have access to firearms, the presumption should be they have that right unless they’ve been adjudicated as a “prohibited person.” If the “closing gaps” language only ensures that adjudicated prohibited possessors are added to the system, it wouldn’t add further infringements.

2. Encouraging the Legislature to carefully study the possible creation of a “red flag” law to permit the removal of firearms from a potentially dangerous person — only after legal due process is provided, and on a temporary basis.

Due process and “temporary” are key here. Red flag laws hold serious potential for abuse of due process and Second Amendment rights. This is only an “encouragement to study,” but it’s a first step.

3. Requiring the courts to report within 48 hours any judgment, protective order or family violence conviction affecting the right to legally purchase and possess firearms.

This probably does little harm. It works to insure faster responses to existing “prohibited person” law. The problem is the increasing, incremental addition of more prohibited person categories.

4. Strengthening the state’s existing safe firearm storage law by changing the definition of “child” to include 17-year-olds, clarifying that secure storage of a loaded or unloaded firearm around children is required, and increasing the penalty level from a Class A misdemeanor to a 3rd-degree felony when access results in death or serious bodily injury.

This is a dangerous infringement. It forms part of an incremental scheme to put the state in control of firearms possession and ownership.

The vast majority of teenagers have shown themselves to be fully responsible in the handling of firearms. Gun storage laws have been shown to be ineffective in reducing accidents with children, and are associated with an increase in crime. They demonize gun owners with the presumption that teens can’t be trusted with access to guns in the home.

There are numerous cases where teens accessed guns in the home and successfully used them for self defense. This part of the plan would make self defense impossible or criminalize it when it does happen.

5. Promoting the voluntary use of devices to secure firearms.

Relatively harmless, as long as it remains “voluntary.” But “voluntary” actions, when sanctioned by the state, tend to become mandatory.

6. Requiring gun owners to report within 10 days when their firearms are lost or stolen to aid law enforcement.

The idea that the victim of a theft would be further victimized by the requirement to report to the police after their property is stolen, is anathema to the rule of law. Moreover, it only “works” with extensive firearm registration data.

It significantly chills the exercise of Second Amendment rights by increasing the risk of criminal prosecution as a result of gun ownership. The entire concept of gun tracing does nothing to control crime. Its purpose seems to be to victimize the original owner and aid in state control over them. Recovering stolen guns uses a different data base (NCIC) than that used to trace gun ownership (BATFE).

Any moves toward a gun registration system are significant threats to Second Amendment rights. As seen in California, setting up a registration system is very useful for the state to implement incremental gun confiscation.

Property owners, including gun owners, shouldn’t held responsible for what happens when their property is used without their consent or control. A mandatory reporting system shifts the burden of proof to gun owners, to prove their property wasn’t in their control when it was used in a crime. It’s a heavy burden that chills the exercise of Second Amendment rights.

Governor Abbott has been a strong Second Amendment supporter. These proposals contain a number of problematic areas that need to be addressed. Several of the proposals imply that gun ownership and the Second Amendment are the problem instead of the solution. That needs to change.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar Docduracoat says:

    How would I even when a gun was stolen?
    My secondary safe has the ones I don’t shoot often.
    Along with the malfunctioning one that I am waiting to turn in to a “ gun buyback” as I can’t justify selling it to someone else.
    (Don’t buy a Universal brand M 1 carbine!)
    I should go check now and see if they are all there!
    I don’t get the storage laws at all.
    My kids have known where Mommy’s gun is in the downstairs drawer.
    When they were little, they knew some awesome punishment awaits anyone who touched it without permission
    After age 10, they each came to the range and learned how to use it.
    They know it is stored full magazine, empty chamber and they have to rack the slide before use.
    Now they know the house rules are that anyone needing shooting gets shot twice.
    However all criminals get firsts before anyone gets seconds!

    1. avatar JP says:

      Boarding house rules

    2. avatar SE Texas says:

      I’ll just comment on “a “red flag” law to permit the removal of firearms from a potentially dangerous person “. They have this action backwards. Remove the “potentially dangerous person” and not take a lets see what they can do attitude. Take them to be evaluated and find out if they are a “dangerous person”.

      1. avatar Wzrd says:

        Excellent point. All of these “red flag laws” or GVROs aren’t about public safety. They are literally only meant to be a means to confiscation. Not one of these laws I’ve heard of yet does anything to address the “dangerous” person. Nothing about committing them for observation, referring them to a mental health professional, etc. It’s only about taking away guns. I’m sure it does wonders for a person legitimately suffering from mental health problems to have a bunch of cops show up at their house & forcibly confiscate their firearms, & then leave them to their own devices (if things don’t go sideways while the police are still there).
        These laws will be incrementally changed to allow any person to report you for any reason with no repercussions for false statements & no restoration of your property or rights.

  2. avatar CZJay says:

    Does the safe storage law in Texas require restricted access? You can’t give a teen the code to the safe? Or does it simply require guns to be locked away?

    1. avatar Seizure doc says:

      These days, how can you know that the teen won’t give the safe code to someone else ? If my daughter’s boyfriend helps himself to a firearm and does something bad with it, am I responsible? These laws all lead to the same place, which is holding someone responsible. It does not matter in what sense they are responsible. It will always be decided by the government to suit their purpose.

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        I ask because your kids might need to protect themselves and the property while you are not there. If you are required to lock the guns away and you can’t give the kids the code, then the kids will be defenseless.

        The other scenario is different. That’s an irresponsible, untrustworthy, child betraying their parents.

        1. avatar Seizure doc says:

          It’s a difficult problem. I just do not trust my 18 year old daughter in that situation. If I carried it to a logical conclusion I would let her home carry when she is home alone as do I. I just can’t. Everyone who has a gun at home has a chance they will have to defend themself and a chance for a mishap. We all struggle with what is the lesser of two evils.
          The reason I have a safe is so I dont have to worry about my 7 and 8 year old boys. I see no other great use for it. As I recall, Texas gun law does not require a safe but holds me responsible for what happens if the guns are not secure. When I purchased a firearm in Florida i had to sign a statement saying the gun would be « safely » stored. As with my first point, the enforcement is up to the local DA.
          I do not see any of them eager to defend my 2nd amendment rights.

  3. avatar barnbwt says:

    A dangerous rabbit hole, even if Abbot hasn’t gone very far down it yet.

    None of these proposed measures would have stopped the recent Texas shootings. Indulging the gun grabbers’ impulses out of convenience is the road to Californian restrictions.

    If these measures go further than mere jaw-boning, I’m afraid we may need to start looking for better alternatives before the next primary.

  4. avatar barnbwt says:

    If you want to throw money at promoting safe storage, get the government out of the way by making gun safes tax-free. But those petty dollars are more important than these “crucial” safety measures, no doubt.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “If you want to throw money at promoting safe storage, get the government out of the way by making gun safes tax-free.”

      In Massachusetts, gun safes are already sales tax free, and the G is anything but out of the way.

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        Yeah, that’s why I suggest tax breaks rather than storage laws if we *must* do something

  5. avatar Joe R says:

    Love TX. Been a neighbor here in the OK for nearly 20 years. But F all y’all if your logic for making schools safer FOR KIDS doesn’t include shutting them down. Assholes try to get clever with making knives less sharp and water less drowny. FU stupid. America’s Most Dangerous Babysitting Scheme (that’s also a communist indoctrination tool, a backdoor unionized funding pipeline for the (D)NC, and a festering train of “anything goes”) our Nation’s “Education System” is too fucked up to retain. “Gun problems” in schools is just an inside job way of demanding more funding while providing more fucking evil.

    It’s got to go.

    F em all.

  6. avatar Duncan says:

    None of those proposals has anything to do with school safety. It is civil rights control plane and simple. The governor will remove our rights, like all politicians.

  7. avatar Nanashi says:

    Someone tell Abbot that if the second amendment isn’t absolute, neither is the thirteenth. Since this I consider him a traitor to the second amendment and will not support any attempt or appointment to national office.

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    4. Strengthening the state’s existing safe firearm storage law by changing the definition of “child” to include 17-year-olds …

    This is an absolute no-go. Period. Full stop.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with leaving a 15 year-old child at home alone or in charge of younger siblings for a couple hours while mom and dad are working or shopping. And that 15 year-old child needs to have immediate access to a suitable self-defense firearm in the event that violent criminals or wild animals threaten the children while mom and dad are away.

    This is the proverbial “red line” that government must not cross.

  9. avatar Harley says:

    The devil is in the details here. Safe storage has been in Texas it seems to be forever. However it is a weak law so I understand the want to strengthening it. I am all for and its still voluntary. However the comment made that it would prevent self-defense is just flat wrong and will not chill any rights. Those younger than 18, way younger, have used the parents firearms numerous times in Texas for as far back as Texas first founding. Never has Texas used a safe storage law in a obvious self defense action. Quite the reverse. The kid was thanked and rewarded and the parents were thanked and held up as an example of fine parenting.

    Thats the answer right there. Parenting. Something this culture is missing now.

    Prompt reporting to the NICS system has been needed for a long time. Look at Sutherland Springs as one good example. Parkland is another. One is the military failure the other is a state and federal failure. Now would all of the improvements stop these crazies. No, not without immediately follow up and prosecutions which is a federal failure. NICS system only works with GI,GO. No garbage in, no garbage out.

    Reporting stolen guns. Really I dont know why anyone would not. I would immediately, like in yesterday! My biggest fear is someone getting access or stealing one or more and injurying or killing someone with it. That would rip my soul apart. That is why my safe costs as much or more than my accumulation of firearms. I never sell or trade ANY firearm, EVER. For the above reasons. I buy them and they are mine forever. Not a collection but an accumulation. The safe is also not a quick access electronic failure prone jobbie either. It is the old style spin the knob combination lock. Set into an old closet, bolted to the concrete foundation and framed into the closet with 2X6 and fire resistant 3 quarter inch sheet rock. Is it fool proof? No. But better than most. The only firearms out of the safe are the ones the wife and I are wearing or using.

    Due process is built into the redflag law. Due process takes time and the reporting is also eye balled as well. I am fine with that as well.

    I see nothing in these proposals that raise any alarms or chill any part of the second civil rights. This is all alarmist and fear mongering. Nothing has been put into place by executive order or overnight back room emergency passing laws. These proposals, all of them still has to move thru comgress and will get tweaked and ammended and voted on. Even in a special session, proposed laws move slowly and if Greg Abbott doesnt like the result, vetoed.

    Slow down everyone. Dont get worked up on things you have no clue yet on whats happening. I am a Texan born and raised. Still live here and proud to. Nothing to see here yet on any of these proposals and so far, for all of them.

    If people would raise their kids right and/or were raised right themselves we would have this problem. Raise your own kids. Dont let the government do your responsibility.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      “No garbage in, no garbage out” huh? You are sorely mistaken. FBI simply decided on their own to cease processing false NICS denial appeals, because there were so many it became a drain on resources. FOIA requests revealed agents were illegally instructed to not process appeals sent through the mail as required by law.

      The NICS system is ineffective at best, and demonstrably abusive & corrupt. I’d say we should start the “improvements” with the FBI, rather than making the ineffective gun bans even broader. At present, it’s clear the people overseeing NICS have no business wielding that authority.

      1. avatar Harley says:

        As I said. A federal failure. I am not sorely mistaken at all as I have touched on that problem. But if you think that the NICS system is going away any time soon or at all then you are the one who is sorely mistaken. Its not that I dont agree with your view on the NICS abuse and failure but if we are going to be stuck with it then it needs to work.

        One other thing. Texas has not even mentioned a single gun or accessorie ban. Not even in passing. Even Texas students have started a new march. March for our Rights. This shaping up to give Bloombucks and Hoggwash a run for their money relying on only support for donors.

        Want to see how real Texans work? Watch.

  10. avatar Harley says:

    Also what wasnt mentioned here is the further strengthening of school security which is also in the works. Texas has something like 115 schools that either have armed staff or armed security or both and has had this for a long time. And as such big large letter warning signs are posted in front of those schools. Expanding on this working idea is in the works too.

  11. avatar FedUp says:

    1. Pass ‘safe storage’ law.
    2. Pass ‘duty to report theft’ law.
    3. Arrest everybody who reports a stolen gun for ‘unsafe storage’.
    4. Laugh at them for being stupid enough to vote your smarmy RINO carcass into office.

    1. avatar Harley says:

      1. Safe storage already is law.
      2. Duty to report shouldnt be a no brainer. But some people doesn’t have half a brain.
      3. Doubt that unless your dimocrate buddies go door to door.
      4. Abbott best Gov so far. When the dim were in control of Texas carry was prohibited. Ma Richards wouldnt even allow a referendum on it. G.W. Bush signed it first thing. Perry refined it more and better. Abbott’s first move expanded it even more.

      What else you got?

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        So, even after what he’s done recently, he’s still better than Ann Richards?
        Is that called ‘damning with faint praise’?

        http://waronguns.blogspot.com/2018/06/a-staunch-supporter.html
        When gun control advocates leave the Governor’s meeting high-fiving each other, you know there’s a reason for concern.

        1. avatar Harley says:

          Far far bettet than Ma Richards. She would not allow concealed carry to even be discussed in Texas. It was a flat NO. This despite an overwhelming majority on both sides and people wanting it to happen.

          Gov Abbott hasn’t done anything yet. As I have said before, what he said are only proposals for the look at and for anything to be considered for him to sign must NOT infringe on anyones rights or due process. He has made that perfectly clear. This article was incomplete and somewhat out of context and is perfect for hate and discontent to be spread and alarmist to scream foul.

          He has already won his primary by 90 percent. His democrat opponent wants Texas to be like New York or California or worse swearing that LTC law in Texas be overturned and no reprocity. New York safe in Texas? Not here. Not a chance in hell.

          Patterson authored the carry laws in Texas and I sat and watched the debates in both the House and Senate from beginning to end. Abbott signed both open carry and campus carry and they were passed bipartisan vote before sending them to his desk.

          Abbott was Gov Perry’s lawer that advised him on the improvements made to Texas carry law while Perry was in office. Did Abbot work like Florida after recent shootings here? No. Did he sign an emergency safe act that was heavily flawed like New York? No. Has he done anything with a phone or a pen like Obama and people in Texas instant felons? No. The only words spoken about guns were making it clear that guns were not the problem and no such action would be taken against inanimate objects or their accessories. People that do bad things are the problem and the Red Flag would still REQUIRE DUE PROCESS BEFORE ANY ACTION WOULD BE TAKEN!

          I wish people would obtain the full story before screaming foul at the top of their lungs and wind up looking like an idiot and touching off people wirh a huge chip on their shoulder sounding like the democrats screaming “blood in the streets”!

          There is no guarantee that any of his proposals would even make it thru congress in the first place, which could take years. He can call for the funding for school security, something that still has to be voted on by congress but can quicker to pass.

          Texas law prohibits Governors to act like dictators unlike the states of Florida, California, New York and so on. So just pack it up and watch REAL law makers work.

  12. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Pass nothing, hang the perpetrator by the neck until dead on the State Capitols lawn at 12:00 leave them swinging until 17:00 for all to see complete with media coverage. It doesn’t matter if they committed suicide or not. Hang em

    1. avatar Harley says:

      I dont disagree at all. But I prefer a firing squad of ten shooters. No sights and all with a bad aim. Give them what they gave their victims.

    2. avatar Harley says:

      I don’t disagree at all. But I prefer a firing squad of ten shooters. No sights and all with a bad aim. Give them what they gave their victims.

  13. avatar GoD says:

    Red flag gun laws are highly illegal!

    No where in the Constitution does it allow for rights to be taken away because some snowflake thinks ur too manly or u own too many guns or u looked at them wrong.

    Should we staple someone’s mouth shut for life if they say something that is construed as offensive to one person?

    What other right is abused and taken from Americans as often as the 2nd amendment right?

  14. avatar David Keith says:

    Go ahead and argue for a bunch of watered down laws and we’ll get nothing. I feel it’s just a question of time before we get nothing anyway, but we can speed it up by an unwillingness to compromise on even the smallest points.
    You just don’t get it do you?

  15. avatar Alan says:

    Don’t live in Texas, passed through Houston one summer, years ago, terribly uncomfortable, though summers in New York City were no bargain either. That said, it seems as if the governor is trying to sit on both sides of the fence, at the same time, which runs counter to the wisdom in an old Yiddish saying that my grandmother was especially fond of. In English, it goes as follows. Given that you have just one behind, you can sit on only one chair at a time. It has a better ring in the original Yiddish, alas my memory fails me. By the way, re the governor sitting on multiple chairs at the same time, the attempted action will likely prove both uncomfortable for the governor, and unsatisfactory to all or most other interested parties.

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