Texas Legislature Adds Gun Storage Awareness Program Funding to State Spending Bill

greg abbott texas safe storage bill

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, left, listens as Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen, right, answers a question during a joint news conference (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Texas legislature dropped a little bomb in Governor Greg Abbott’s lap before it adjourned for two years. They attached funding for a safe gun storage public awareness campaign to a $250 billion state budget bill.

It’s $1 million for the Department of Public Safety to create a program that would advocate for “safe storage,” ostensibly to reduce firearm-related accidents involving children. An earlier bill that would have mandated the program was killed.

The bill was opposed by the NRA, the GOA and the Texas State Rifle Association as duplicative of other programs already in place.

Here’s some background from the GOA’s Rachel Malone:

Abbott has a line-item veto so could zero out the funding without vetoing the full bill. He has until June 16 to make a decision. Here’s the AP’s report:

By JIM VERTUNO

Lawmakers in gun-loving Texas have quietly gone around the National Rifle Association by slipping language into a massive spending bill that would fund a $1 million public safety campaign on gun storage.

The last-minute move late Sunday sets up a political test rarely seen in Texas for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who must decide whether to veto the spending or to ignore NRA opposition and approve the program.

An Abbott spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the Texas Legislature adjourned Monday until 2021.

The campaign for safe home gun storage is a small item in the two-year, $250 billion state budget, and it was fiercely opposed by the NRA and gun-rights activists. The measure failed to get a vote and appeared all but dead weeks ago.

Then budget negotiators — the majority of whom are Republicans — added the funding into a budget bill. The legislation was approved Sunday night by the GOP-controlled Legislature.

“I have full confidence that the governor will look at it hard and will realize it’s all about saving lives. I hope there is no one discouraging him,” Gyl Switzer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense, said Monday.

Abbott has said he would support promoting gun safety. But he has also bowed to pressure from the NRA and gun rights advocates on issues such as stiffer penalties for negligent gun storage, as well as “red flag” laws to keep guns away from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

Creating a new safe storage campaign in Texas would be a rare defeat for the NRA, which has long flexed considerable muscle in a state with more than 1.3 million handgun license holders.

Texas lawmakers have steadily expanded gun rights over the last decade. That includes a Sunday night vote to allow anyone who can legally own a gun to carry it openly or concealed for a week after a natural disaster declaration.

The NRA and its state affiliate, the Texas State Rifle Association, have worked to beat back new restrictions on gun ownership, including after two recent high-profile mass shootings: one at a church in Sutherland Springs in November 2017 that killed more than two dozen people, including a pregnant woman, and a shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston that killed 10 people and wounded 13 others in May 2018.

The proposal for a safe gun storage public service campaign came after the Santa Fe High School shooting. Police have said the then-17-year-old gunman took his father’s weapons from their home.

After the Santa Fe shooting, Abbott’s gun law proposals said he wanted to “to encourage the millions of law abiding, gun-owning Texans to embrace their personal responsibility for gun safety.”

Bills filed by Democrats to have the Texas state police agency create a safe storage campaign never made it to votes in the House or Senate. The NRA lobbied against them, arguing that gun rights groups and gun manufacturers have similar campaigns that are widely distributed to gun stores and shooting ranges. In one public hearing, an NRA lobbyist warned lawmakers that a campaign designed by the Texas state police could easily be corrupted by anti-gun rhetoric.

Abbott has line-item veto power in the budget, meaning he could strip out the safe storage campaign without scuttling the entire spending bill.

Alice Tripp, legislative director and lobbyist for the Texas State Rifle Association, said the group still opposes the program but isn’t in the business of asking for veto.

“We don’t do that. Gov. Abbott does not need that kind of advice from us. We bring information to the table,” Tripp said. “If he calls me, I would tell him that.”

Advocates for the safe-storage campaign say it’s needed far beyond efforts to stop mass shootings.

Nationwide, nearly 1,700 children under age 18 died from accidental gun deaths from 2001 to 2017, while more than 33,000 were injured, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A University of Texas study of pediatric shooting injuries or deaths over a 15-year period in Houston found that in most cases, there was no adult supervision at the time and most families had received no training on safe gun storage at home.

comments

  1. avatar Sam I Am says:

    The important issue here is the legislature, not the governor, not NRA, not TSRA. When the legislature has enough statists and squishes to muster a majority to establish this “gun safety” (invasion of privacy) funding…..game over?

  2. avatar Stateisevil says:

    Wow, that’s statist and gay as hell. GOP can get away with anything when they’re in power. “Conservatives” only fight the Demonrats. When the blue devils retake power they will start banning stuff by fatwah using the Trump Doctrine, citing bumpstocks. Fasten your seatbelts.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      Democrips and rebloodlicans. Two sides of the same foul coin…

      1. avatar Rheopectic says:

        Bonnen is a RINO POS. No more to be trusted than Lindsey Graham.

        1. avatar Andy says:

          Or Joe Straus.

  3. avatar pwrserge says:

    100 “children” per year is a rounding error in a nation of 330 million people. The fact that they have to include 17yo ganbangers in their stats shows they don’t have a leg to stand on. But I would love to know how a “safe storage” law would stop mass shootings. By the time I was 12, I could easily get into any storage safe imaginable given enough time. It’s not difficult as most “gun safes” are designed to prevent quick smash and grabs, not somebody with unlimited access to the home and all the time in the world.

    In any case, the SCotUS already ruled on the issue. The 2nd amendment protects your right to keep a gun in your home in any manner you see fit. If that means on a nightstand ready to rock, that’s on you. The worst part is that we are punishing people with good kids who have the common sense not to mess with daddy’s boom stick for the actions of people with stupid kids who are naturally selecting themselves out of the gene pool.

    1. avatar Pg2 says:

      Priceless how you’ll accept CDC figures which are known to be false when it suits your agenda, but when it doesn’t the CDC suddenly doesn’t have have a leg to stand on. And mandatory vaccine laws for school attendance are already punishing good families with good kids, and you have no issue with that. Idiot or sociopath?

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Oh look, is Herr Doctor PG2 Mengele back again. What ran out of people to jab with sharp implements to figure out if it’s safe to stick somebody with a knife?

      2. avatar Just Sayin says:

        Hey Pg2, I will play the game and accept the CDC #’s.
        But then what happens when you look up “children under 18 that die by drowning” ?
        (cut to the chase : Avg # is ten kids a day in the US)
        That number dwarfs “gun violence “ (the statists made up term, not mine).

        Where’s the pool outrage?

        1. avatar Pg2 says:

          I’m on your side. Just calling out the forum idiot/hypocrite/sociopath who has no problem lying here while he pushes for other peoples children to play Russian roulette with inadequately tested childhood vaccines to make himself feel safer. Vaccines we know permanently injure and kill some children. This is not in dispute. What’s in dispute is the number of inured and killed children from vaccines. What a stand up guy.

      3. avatar Southern Cross says:

        Yawn. SS DD.

        For such a zealot they could also be a vegan or a member of the Clearwater congregation.

      4. avatar GS650G says:

        I don’t think it possible for you to list without an anti vac statement. Sad.

    2. avatar drunkEODguy says:

      Number of ND injuries is small, and ND related fatalities is even smaller. CDC and WISQARS data show this to be true. The articles author also demonstrates his bias and ignorance by conferring “boogyman” status to the NRA and thinking CHL’s are “handgun licenses”, nuff said.

  4. avatar MB says:

    I keep my guns in safe storage at all times, on me and accessible. Unsafe storage is inaccessible storage. If people with children have to be told or legislated into locking their guns up, they maybe they are not raising their children properly…my wife was raised with a gun standing in the corner of every room. Every one of the six kids in the family never touched one without permission. It’s parenting 101.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      My grandpa kept a ceremonial pole axe hanging on his apartment wall for my entire life. It’s wicked sharp and most definitely NOT a toy. (Long story about how he got it, but that’s a separate topic.) Point is, when I was a kid, I knew better than to touch the thing as grandpa was an old school, spank with stiff leather red army belt, kind of guy. If your kids are stupid enough to play with things that they should damn well know are not toys, then what’s to keep them from going in the garage and playing with daddy’s chainsaw or something equally hilariously dangerous? Raise your kids right, spank them when they deserve it, and it ceases to be a problem. It is not the job of the government to pass laws to make up for your shitty child-rearing practices.

      1. avatar Andy says:

        Pwrserge, before I got the safe I have now, I had a sheet steel cabinet in my closet. One day, my grandson was caught trying to get in it, was told to go away and if he returned an ass whoopin would ensue. Not 2 minutes later said ass whoopin took place and my daughter was all in an uproar cause I whipped him. That is until she calmed down enough to find out why then she whooped his ass too and then his daddy did. Better to have a sore ass than a hole in your head. So, yeah, I agree that old school discipline is the key, not this modern cuddle me bullshit.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          So that was the time you caught him. How many times did he get in before you did?

    2. avatar TXRabbit47 says:

      “Every one of the six kids in the family never touched one without permission. It’s parenting 101.”
      Same here! My grandfather’s rifle was, likewise, sitting in the corner for ready access if needed. From day one, i received instruction to (1) not touch it until (2) I was old enough to be instructed on the safe handling procedures and for hunting game to put food on the table. Enough said! Yes, it’s parenting 101.

    3. avatar jwtaylor says:

      “Every one of the six kids in the family never touched one without permission.”
      More likely they just never got caught. THAT’s parenting 101.

      1. avatar Mad says:

        Kids respected their elders more than they do now don’t bring your stupid ideas here idiot we’ve seen them for decades moron dumb ass

  5. avatar 300BlackoutFan says:

    Sheesh, it’s _one million dollars_ for a “firearm safe storage” public safety awareness. It’s not mandating that Texans have firearm safe storage.

    $1 million out of a $250B budget. Wow. That’ll pay for about 2 conference calls and 1 billboard for 2 weeks. The fact that the NRA *fiercely* campaigned against this tells me that they spent way too much effort fighting this…

    There’s probably a $1M line item for “wear your seatbelt” campaign too. Y’all are getting your panties in a twist…

    1. avatar Brainman says:

      And that is how our government budgets get to ridiculous amounts. Only 100 kids per year in the entire US. So we need to spend 1,000,000 dollars?!? And it’s just on an awareness campaign that we don’t even know will accomplish anything. How about you kick that million bucks since you’re so keen on it? My taxes are already too high.

    2. avatar UpInArms says:

      As per Everett Dirksen: “A million here, a million there… pretty soon you’re talking serious money.”

  6. avatar RMS1911 says:

    Line item veto
    Problem solved.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Line item veto
      Problem solved.”

      No, merely delayed. The fact that a majority (in Texas) could form to get the bill passed through the legislature is the story. If the pro-gun Texans (and we non-Texans) must depend on one person to plug the dike, what does that tell us?

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    I don’t mind what it is — a campaign to get people to keep their guns on them or safely put away — but I sure as hell mind what it can turn into once the camel’s nose is under the tent.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      The fact that anyone has their panties in a wad over this bill is beyond me. They should read the bill at least to know what they are talking about.

      The fact is that there are lots of folks who have guns, and that’s a good thing. There are also folks new to gun ownership, or who have otherwise not been shown what is safe and responsible. There are decent people who just never considered how easy or how fast things can go wrong. Showing people a better, safer way is not bad. There’s nothing more to it than that.

      As a corollary, Texas launched a huge “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” campaign some years ago, because so many people were getting swept away trying to drive over low water crossings during a flood. Those of us from the area all said it was for idiots that probably shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce anyway. I remember those jokes. I also know most of us have a relative or friend or someone we know that got washed away in a flood, trying to cross a low water crossing. The Turn Around Don’t Drown and “Texas Floods” campaigns have now saved quite a few lives.
      Nobody was stupid. Nobody was a horrible person. They just needed to be shown a different way, while still having the freedom to choose stupid if that’s what they wanted.

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        +1

      2. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Did you see the excerpt from Knighton’s Bearing Arms article?

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          I don’t often read bearing arms, but I did read your comment on it here.
          I found it a pretty big reach, especially here in Texas, and especially in the light of all of the other Pro 2a bills passed the same time.
          It sounded like little more than whining from someone who wants bad news.
          It was a good session. Every year we get a little bit more.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I found it a pretty big reach,…”

          Guess I am too jaded; no government program is benign. Safe storage is politically loaded, a handle for anti-gun forces to flavor the outcome. The message from government is that the public is incapable of informing themselves adequately (read “properly”), and an all knowing, all caring, all important government is the only neutral arbiter of information; the disinterested party.

          I just can’t be trusting when government wants me to change my behavior.

  8. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    When’s the pool safety awareness campaign happening? It got a line item too right?

    1. avatar Andy says:

      Again back to my daughter. Andrew, we had a pool at our house in the country and my daughter told us we needed to put a fence around the pool. I told her no and that she needed to teach her kids. I won. This was before the gun cabinet ass whoopin though so I guess the grandson didn’t learn too much after all.

      1. avatar Terclinger says:

        Your daughter was smarter than you, and you’re lucky some neighbors’ kids didn’t sneak in to use your pool when you weren’t around, and then drown, with their parents suing you into the poorhouse.

        Same with ass whipping common sense into your grandkids. You might have made them smart enough but there is no accounting for their friends or people who break in.

        Lock your guns up that you’re not wearing or carrying.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I assume that was sarcasm, because exactly that has existed for years at the federal, state, and local levels. The Consumer Product Safety Commission alone does a $2M annual grant to states for pool safety awareness, plus what it spends from the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act. That’s well over a decade old now.
      The only reason you, or anyone else, is brining up pool safety is because those public awareness campaigns exist. You’ve just proven the need for the bill.

  9. avatar billrla says:

    California is pushing hard on “safe-storage” back-door gun-control misinformation and propaganda. The goal is to denigrate and de-platform responsible gun owners. Basically, the State of California, which is ruled by Democratic Socialists, wants the populace to believe that all guns at home are a problem and lawful gun owners are irresponsible.

    Proper storage of firearms, especially in households with children, has always been a foundational element of gun safety. However, the Democratic Socialists have eliminated firearms education for children from schools and voluntary programs.

    If you want to make a positive impact on children, teach them age-appropriate lessons about gun safety.

  10. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Texas elected officials personify the term “retail politician” and, if they label themselves “conservative” are only conditionally so. Most, like speaker Bonnen (and Joe Strauss before him) are ideologically progressive in various ways that causes them to easily align with liberals on issues like gun-rights versus gun-control. Standing on principle for them is a very rare, almost nonexistent thing. Basically, they’ll sell anybody and anything (including themselves) to stay in office. They are not to be trusted. At all.

    1. avatar UpInArms says:

      A good politician: Once he’s bought, he stays bought.

  11. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    Every house in the USA should be built with locking laundry cabinets, pool supply sheds…medicine cabinets…etc
    If you choose to use them…fine…if not…also fine…your home is your “locked container”…
    With great rights come great responsibilities…

  12. avatar Anymouse says:

    I don’t see a problem with the budget line, in general. Safe storage is one of the core safety rules – #2 for NSSF, #3 and #10 for NRA. This is a money for an educational campaign, not penalties for not meeting an arbitrary safe storage standard. I don’t see it as necessarily full of “gun-control messaging” unless there’s specific language in the bill or it’s funding a specific antigun group. If the Department of Public Safety is coming up with the wording and messaging, Gov. Abbott should be able to keep it based on actual safety. Keeping guns unloaded when not in use (a defensive gun is always in use), and keeping guns away from unauthorized users should not be controversial. You can train your kids so that they can be authorized users, but you need to take steps if they can’t or won’t be responsible users. Hiding or putting a loaded gun “out of reach” isn’t a solution with curious kids. However, we also know that safes or vaults just delay a determined attack and don’t guarantee no one can get to your guns.

    1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      “Keeping guns unloaded when not in use (a defensive gun is always in use), and keeping guns away from unauthorized users should not be controversial.”

      Except when the practice is being turned into statutory law. Then it becomes very controversial because it impinges on my rights and preferences. I’ll make my own choices about how I keep my guns and I don’t want governmental go-gooders doing it for me. I feel the same way about motorcycle helmets. They may be a good idea—for some people—but they should never be mandated by government.

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        It’s not being turned into statutory law (at least in Texas), so I guess you can go Chicken Little about something else. Notice I even said, “not penalties for not meeting an arbitrary safe storage standard.” I worry about the lack of reading comprehension. I’m very glad that you don’t feel the need to protect yourself with a helmet. Ride hard, ride fast.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “It’s not being turned into statutory law (at least in Texas), so I guess you can go Chicken Little about something else.”

          The quote below from Tom Knighton, Bearing Arms might be worth considering:
          “You see, once you put this kind of campaign out there, funded by the taxpayers, you’re getting people used to the idea that how you store your firearms is somehow the government’s business, that it has a vested interest in what you do within the privacy of your own home. It normalizes this thinking and paves the way for safe storage laws.”

  13. avatar 2WarAbnVet says:

    Safely store your gun!
    Make it completely useless when you most need it!

  14. avatar Bob Jones says:

    Like cigarette warning notices, this money will be completely wasted as no one pays any attention to whatever notices or information they publish.

    Even Willie Nelson hosted an anti-trash campaign in Texas and the state is more trashed out than ever….mostly thanks to new yankees and illegal immigrants.

  15. avatar barnbwt says:

    Wow they’re desperate for crumbs, aren’t they. That article spent more time mentioning gun banner hopes & dreams than the actual subject, and the rest was exaggerating the significance to rather comical levels.

    I wish they’d added language to let Abbot appoint whoever runs this stupid campaign, so he can find someone who will say “I’ve determined my mission is redundant and am ending the program effective immediately, and recommending it not be funded next year)

  16. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    The Texas State Rifle Association has clarified the Fake News spewed by the major media propagandists. Please pay special attention to the last sentence in paragraph two.

    Here is the actual excerpt from the Bill:

    “48. Statewide Safe Gun Storage Campaign. Included in the amounts appropriated above in Strategy G.1.1, Headquarters Administration, is $500,000 in fiscal year 2020 and $500,000 in fiscal year 2021 in General Revenue to establish and promote a statewide safe gun storage campaign.

    The public awareness campaign shall begin no later than September 1, 2020. The public awareness campaign may include online materials, printed materials, public service announcements, or other advertising media. The public awareness campaign may not convey a message that it is unlawful under state law to keep or store a firearm that is loaded or that is readily accessible for self- defense. ”

    Safe storage is a good idea that anyone with children should consider. The Bill does NOT make it mandatory and has specific wording to prevent it from being used as a propaganda device by the hoplophobes.

  17. avatar TheBruteSquad says:

    Why not do something useful and make safes tax deductible as a home improvement?

  18. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    Its a noble gesture but its not going to convince shiftless irresponsible Morons into locking up loaded weapons. The only thing they understand is when they see a neighbor go to jail, get fined a massive amount of money, lose their jobs and then get a felony conviction so they cannot legally own firearms anymore. Now that is what gets the people’s attention that are on the lower end of the evolutionary scale. We need the jackboot of a common sense law coming down hard on their necks until they choke from lack of air and faint from fear. Do it for the children.

  19. avatar Aleric says:

    Its the first step to mandatory storage regulations, then its mandatory gun locks, then obligatory registration, then required gun club membership and finally confiscation to anyone who cant meet these requirements just like the UK.

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