Now comes news that major Republican political donors, including some of Gov. Greg Abbott’s contributors, have signed an open letter supporting congressional action to increase gun restrictions following the Uvalde school shootings.
The Texas Tribune reported that more than 250 self-styled gun enthusiasts signed the letter, which calls for the enactment of “red flag” laws, expanding background checks for gun purchasers and raising the age to purchase any gun, including assault-type rifles, to 21.
The 18-year-old shooter in Uvalde killed 19 elementary school children and two teachers with an assault rifle that he had legally purchased.
The letter, which also commends U.S. Sen. John Cornyn for his leadership role in bipartisan negotiations over gun reform in Washington, is a step in the right direction. But it is only a step. Cornyn has made it clear that any new gun laws from Congress will be limited.
We have seen letters before, and we have heard the cries of anguish when mass shootings happen. Even Abbott has uttered words of despair over this shooting tragedy and others, while doing absolutely nothing of substance to address any of them, just as he did nothing of substance to keep them from happening.
Abbott’s political contributors need to expand their call for action on gun reform to include Texas, as well as Congress, and to make it clear to the governor that he must stop holding hands with the gun lobby and actually take action on gun reform.
The best way to get his attention is to stop giving him money, the money that pays for the political mirage depicting Abbott as a caring, successful leader who can be entrusted with public safety. Stop funding his reelection campaign unless or until he leads the Legislature into action to enact laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. While they are at it, they also should cut off funding for the other major obstacles to gun reform — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Abbott’s other allies in the Legislature.
The governor is not going to listen to people, even his donors, who merely sign a letter endorsing gun reform. Instead, he will continue taking his donors for granted because they always have been there for him and he always has been there for them.
His donors may be concerned about gun violence, but they have never made it a priority issue. These wealthy business and financial leaders keep Abbott in office for other reasons that have always been more important to them. They know that Abbott will keep protecting the weak regulatory climate that protects their business interests. School privatization advocates among them like Abbott because he is for vouchers and more charter schools. Other donors have other special interests that Abbott and his team protect.
Do they really want to force real results from Austin for school and community safety with reasonable gun laws? We will know they do only if they quit adding their millions to the mountain of campaign cash – more than $60 million — they already have helped Abbott stockpile.