AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — The West Texas shooting spree is once again sparking debates about gun laws.
In Texas, the Department of Public Safety now has $1 million to run an educational campaign about safe gun storage. The initiative passed as part of the state budget during the last Legislative session, which ran from January to May.
According to Representative Chris Turner, there were about four dozen gun safety bills the Legislature could’ve passed during the session, but that was the only one that passed and got the governor’s signature. It was proposed by Rep. Donna Howard who represents Austin.
“Unfortunately yes. That’s really the only thing we could get out of the committee,” said Rep. Vikki Goodwin. “We just aren’t able to take any steps at this time with the composition that we have of the Legislature.”
Goodwin who represents parts of Travis County said, especially after the Midland and Odessa shooting, “I know people are tired of thoughts of prayers. Certainly I do send prayers to the people in Midland, Odessa, El Paso and Sutherland Springs, everywhere that we’ve had an incident like this, and it is time for us to act.”
After the El Paso shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott promised to take action, but said he will not call a special session.
Goodwin told KXAN she wants him to call a special session.
“I think we need more restrictions on automatic weapons or any kind of weapon can rapid fire,” she said. “There’s just no reason for your average person to have that sort of gun easily accessible.”
Goodwin added, she would also like to see “Red Flag” laws passed. That’s when police or family members can obtain a court order to temporary take away someone’s gun if they believe that person is a danger to others or themselves.
However, Rep. Matt Schaefer who represents the Tyler area took to his social media sites to say he won’t vote for such measures.
Sunday, when reporters asked Gov. Abbott about a potential assault rifle ban, the governor said, “This is the kind of thing that legislators are already talking about. It’s one of the topics that was raised during the roundtable discussions that we had in El Paso. I do want to point out, however, that some of the shootings have not involved AR’s.”
Goodwin said she fears losing even more innocent lives. The Texas Legislature doesn’t meet again for another year and a half.
“That’s such a long time from now. Anything can happen,” she said. “I’m afraid people are seeing what’s been happening and saying ‘Well, if that’s how someone else has handled their anger, maybe I need a gun, too,’ and we have sort of a copycat situations and that’s what scares me.”
Other gun-related bills the Legislature passed actually loosened some restrictions.