Some Texas Gun Rights Groups Oppose A State-Funded Gun Storage Safety Campaign, But Not The NRA

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 2 days ago

Texas Tribune.

After several of their priority bills failed to gain traction, some gun rights advocates said House and Senate leadership failed them. Now they’re calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to veto a line item in the state budget they say would add insult to an injurious legislative session.

But that same line in the state’s $251 billion budget is being viewed differently by other firearms enthusiasts.

While some smaller, homegrown groups view the item — $1 million for a public awareness campaign to promote responsible gun storage among firearms owners — as an affront to the Second Amendment, the National Rifle Association says it is unopposed to, though not thrilled by, the public awareness campaign.

Their attention now turns to what Abbott does during the period when he can veto line items in the budget.

Abbott touted the need to promote safe gun storage as part of his school safety proposals in the aftermath of the May 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School that left 10 people dead and 13 wounded. And with a June 16 deadline to make vetoes, the governor is in a delicate position of trying not to alienate Texas gun-rights activists, while advancing a net of school safety reforms that the Legislature passed.

Texas budget writers authorized the $1 million for the Department of Public Safety to promote gun storage so long as it does “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.” The campaign, unless vetoed by Abbott, could include online and printed materials, public service announcements or other advertising. House lawmakers first proposed the idea in a draft of the two-year budget in March, and it was approved by both chambers in May.

“It’s certainly fine and lawful to have a weapon for your own protection,” state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, the House’s lead budget writer, told The Texas Tribune. “But I think we also need to be aware that it’s not uncommon for a child to access a loaded weapon and inadvertently and accidentally hurt themselves.”

But as some gun rights groups criticize the state’s Republican leadership for not stopping the public awareness campaign — “Speaker [Dennis] Bonnen slipped a $1 million spending spree for the promotion of “safe” gun storage,” reads a news release from Texas Gun Rights. “The House and Senate failed to stop this budget rider,” says another one from Gun Owners of America — others have stayed neutral and say the line-item is small and noncontroversial.

“No ‘mandatory storage’ bill passed,” NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter said. “What passed was a safe gun storage campaign rider that was just several lines in a nearly 1,000 page budget and NRA didn’t oppose it, not that anyone bothered to ask about our position.”

We’re not sure why $1 million of taxpayers’ dollars need to be used for such a campaign,” Hunter said. “The state can go ahead and do their thing, while we will continue leading the discussion with our own firearms safety training and accident prevention programs — again, at no cost to taxpayers.”

Well then allow me to explain it to you.  This is the first step.  What appears in education first appears in societal pressure next, and then in financial pressure in the way of things like insurance, and then finally in law.  This is the first of several steps the controllers intend to take.

So readers, is that what the NRA should be working on?  “We will continue leading the discussion with our own firearms safety training and accident prevention programs.”  Do you need them to do that for you?


Comments

  1. On June 10, 2019 at 9:43 am, June J said:

    Received this email from TSRA, it appears that the money is going to the NSSF. If true, perhaps a bit of irony that the funds are going to a pro-gun organization.

    Dear TSRA Members, Family and Friends:
    There’s been a lot of coverage in the media lately about the state’s potential role in promoting gun safety. Our Governor is already working with experts in the firearms industry and law enforcement to bring Texans a proven and effective safety program, one that’s free of rhetoric and bias.

    See the email below from Joe Bartozzi, President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, dated June 6, 2019:

    Did you know that 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Project ChildSafe?

    We at NSSF® are extremely proud that our industry has been a leading voice for this genuine firearms safety initiative. Now, as we embark on retailer awareness related to suicide prevention efforts and partner with the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense to prevent veteran suicides, Project ChildSafe and its “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.®” message takes on a renewed emphasis.

    This year, we are happy to announce that we have received a $1 million grant from the state of Texas to distribute educational materials and cable locks to Texas residents through a network of law enforcement and community partners. We are extremely proud to have a message that balances the rights of all citizens to keep and bear arms with the reminder to safely store those arms when not in use. It is estimated that, in the past 20 years, Project ChildSafe has distributed over 38 million safety kits-which include a free gun lock-through more than 15,500 law enforcement and community partners.

    It is not an understatement to say that this is a hugely successful program-and unlike some politicians’ rhetoric about “gun safety,” Project ChildSafe offers real safety solutions and provides information that allows gun owners to decide which safe storage option best meets their needs. We all know that there is no “one size fits all” solution to safe firearms storage, and this program offers information on what options exist for all situations and price ranges. Please check out http://www.projectchildsafe.org to learn much more about this program.

    Thank you, TSRA members, for remembering to support both TSRA.com and TSRAPAC.com. Campaigns are beginning to organize and the time to prepare for next session in Texas is now.

    Keep the faith

    Alice Tripp
    Legislative Director
    Texas State Rifle Association

  2. On June 11, 2019 at 11:34 am, Archer said:

    On the one hand, it’s not a policy shift or a statute change.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t want my tax dollars to fund an “education” campaign contrary to my natural God-given and Constitutionally-protected rights. As you said, education leads to societal pressure, which eventually leads to law.

    And on the shooting hand, the NRA is failing to stand up to state-level controllers again. The NSSF has had “Project Childsafe” running for nearly two decades, and no responsible gun owner allows small children unfettered access to loaded firearms. There is literally no purpose to this campaign that’s not already in place … other than to “educate” the public that “safe storage” laws are not a violation of rights. The NRA likes to be the 800-lb gorilla in the room, but that status comes with responsibilities … such as not letting politicians get away with anything lest the 800-lb gorilla be seen as toothless and feckless.

    That is a PR image gun owners simply cannot afford.

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You are currently reading "Some Texas Gun Rights Groups Oppose A State-Funded Gun Storage Safety Campaign, But Not The NRA", entry #21376 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control,National Rifle Association and was published June 9th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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