Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has a budget on his desk right now that's been passed by his majority Republican state legislature. That budget includes funding for a public service campaign urging people who own guns in Texas to store them safely. You heard that right: a teensy bit of reasonableness from a Republican legislature regarding encouraging gun safety. Now, remember — this is not a LAW being passed — simply a public safety advertising campaign encouraging gun owners to store their guns safely. You know, "Please consider using gun safes," and the like.
Of course, there is no guarantee Gov. Abbott will sign the budget into law with this benign, unobtrusive gun safety campaign. Why not? Because THE NRA OPPOSES IT, THAT'S WHY. Didn't the NRA start out as a gun safety organization? Way back before it became a huge money-making political machine for the gun manufacturers? Aaaaah. Those were the days.
ABBY LIVINGSTON: The NRA has not weighed in publicly on this, yet, and so it's still somewhat of a question. I think culturally, what you will find especially after Santa Fe, we saw a lot of conservative lawmakers get out in front of reporters and implore parents to lock up their guns. That's very much part of the Texas gun culture, is that when you have a gun, you need to be responsible with it, and so I think we're waiting to hear what the NRA is going to come out and say and also what the governor is going to do.
VELSHI: Let's talk about what the governor is going to do. Where do his allegiances lie on this one. This Texas state legislature is not something you'd call a coastal liberal group of people.
LIVINGSTON: Not at all. And this was negotiated among mostly Republican lawmakers. And so he's got a big decision. The governor has a line item veto power, and so, if he chooses not to go along with this, he can take that track and it won't blow up the entire budget bill. And so, I am genuinely curious where the governor comes down, and I think all of Texas is waiting and watching.
Livingston says the NRA hasn't officially come out against the line item about the gun safety campaign, but the AP is reporting that it is vehemently against it:
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.
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 all know where the NRA stands. Let's see which way Abbott turns, while he's standing between his Republican state house and the NRA.