By Gunner Young/campus editor
Texas Governor Greg Abbott held his very first town hall meeting at the University of Texas in Tyler. Presumably, his goal was to address the many questions that Texans have about the recent El Paso shooting; specifically how Abbott will prevent tragedies like it from happening again.
Texans deserve answers, and yet his answers, as well as his history as a politician, made it clear he had no intention of addressing the gun debate, and no intention of rejecting the rhetoric that his own party pushes that inspired the shooter’s manifesto.
In 2015, his first year as Governor, Abbott tweeted a statistic citing Texas was second in the country for new gun purchases, and said he was “embarrassed” and urged Texans to “pick up the pace” in order to take the number one spot.
It serves as no surprise that Texas has the third most mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982, and has had seven since Abbott took office. California, who tops the list of new gun purchases, also tops the list on the amount of mass shootings.
Abbott has tweeted similar anti-gun control messages, and has historically opposed things like red-flag laws pertaining to gun sales. During the town hall meeting, when asked if he had changed his stance on red-flag laws, he mentioned the laws Texas has in place currently
Another flaw with Abbott’s response was his claim that the shooter’s manifesto was racist and hateful. The manifesto uses much of Trump’s own language, calling the prominence of immigrants in Texas an “invasion” just as Trump did.
In 2016, Abbott endorsed Trump in the presidential race, with his reasoning being that “Sitting on the sidelines isn’t OK.”
If Abbott wants to represent Texans, native or immigrant, white or Hispanic, he has to take the never-ending gun debate off the back-burner and make his supporters uncomfortable in order to achieve progress in the fight against domestic terrorism, and denouncing Trump’s anti-immigrant comments would be a step in the right direction.