Gov. Greg Abbot (R-Texas) said on Wednesday he doesn’t personally know if any “red flags” warnings about a mass shooter who killed 22 individuals last weekend existed that could have prevented the tragedy.
Abbott, in his remarks, recognized that mass shootings are a problem across the country, and in his state specifically. “The people of Texas have been victimized by several mass shootings. It must be stopped,” Abbott said, per reporting from the Associated Press.
It’s unclear — and perhaps unlikely — that Abbott will promote reforms that many are calling for, as the Texas Republican received a 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association last year.
As Abbott suggested that there weren’t any red flags about the shooter, the mother of the assailant, through her legal representation, said otherwise, arguing that she contacted police about her son just a few weeks ago.
The mother of Patrick Crusius said on Thursday in a statement from her lawyers that she contacted law enforcement about concerns she had over her son owning an assault rifle, citing his age and his maturity level. She was told that her son legally had the right to own the weapon, and there wasn’t much else that could be done, Yahoo! News reported.
YouTuber @EricDJuly says passing so-called "red flag" gun laws in response to a tragedy is a terrible idea.
"I have no idea why anybody would trust government officials to do this responsibly."
— BlazeTV (@BlazeTV) August 7, 2019
Whether or not that constitutes a red flag would be up for debate — as is the question over whether such laws actually work. According to reporting from Slate, such laws only exist in 17 states, and have been around for such a short time that any research on them wouldn’t provide a definitive answer one way or another (although there are promising preliminary studies that suggest they have staved off suicides).
Democrats in Congress are also skeptical about any support of such red flag laws, pointing out that they cannot be the sole measure that lawmakers take up in order to address mass shootings and gun violence in general. The fear among many lawmakers in favor of reforms is that such a measure might be passed without other reforms to go alongside with it.
“We Democrats are not going to settle for half-measures so Republicans can feel better and try to push the issue of gun violence off to the side,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said, per reporting from Politico.