State of Texas: State leaders ‘walk the political tightrope’ in response to El Paso shooting


(MUSIC) ABBOTT: IN TEXAS, WE BELIEVE IN ONE THING. MAKE IT TWO THINGS: ACTION AND RESULTS. JOSH: GOVERNOR ABBOTT PROMISES STEPS TO PREVENT FUTURE TRAGEDIES AFTER THE SHOOTINGS IN EL PASO. THE FIRST STEP? A ROUNDTABLE MEETING AT THE CAPITOL. FOR PERSPECTIVE ON THE BIG STORIES IN TEXAS POLITICS, WE TURN TO OUR PANEL. PATRICK SVITEK IS THE PRIMARY POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE TEXAS TRIBUNE. AND WE HAVE OUR OWN POLITICS REPORTER PHIL PRAZAN JOINING US. WELCOME. SVITEK: THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. JOSH: THE GOVERNOR AND OTHERS HAVE CALLED THIS ROUNDTABLE PRODUCTIVE… I THINK EVERYONE’S WONDERING WHAT ARE THE SPECIFICS THAT ARE GOING TO HAPPEN. ONE OF THOSE WAS A POSSIBLE EXPANDING OF BACKGROUND CHECKS THAT THE GOVERNOR TALKED ABOUT. BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SAYING MAYBE THAT’S NOT REALISTIC IN TEXAS. WHAT DO YOU THINK? SVITEK: IT’S BEEN INTERESTING EVEN IN THE WAKE OF THE SHOOTING, THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DAN PATRICK, NO MODERATE REPUBLICAN BY ANYONE’S ACCOUNT WAS TALKING ABOUT POTENTIALLY EXPANDING BACKGROUND CHECKS. NOT GOING TO WHAT SOME WOULD REFER TO AS UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS, BUT MAYBE EXPANDING THEM FROM WHERE THEY CURRENTLY ARE. ABBOTT, AT LEAST AFTER THE ROUND TABLES SAID THAT THAT WAS AN ISSUE THAT WAS DISCUSSED. HE DIDN’T SAY THERE WAS A CONSENSUS ON IT, BUT HE DID SAY IT WAS DISCUSSED AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE DISCUSSED. ONE OF THE TALKING POINTS IN THE RECENT TOWN HALL WE HAD WITH THE GOVERNOR, HE REJECTED THE IDEA OF RED FLAG LAWS AGAIN. NOW IN THESE ROUND TABLES HE’S BROUGHT UP THE IDEA OF WELFARE CHECKS. IS THAT KIND OF THE SAME THING? PRAZAN: IT’S NOT REALLY THE SAME THING. A RED FLAG LAW WOULD BE IN COURT, FRIENDS AND FAMILY GOING TO A JUDGE TO REMOVE GUNS FROM SOMEBODY BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY’RE GOING TO COMMIT A CRIME. NOW THAT’S A PROCESS AND WE HAVE SIMILAR PROCESSES ALREADY IN PLACE THAT WE COULD JUST REPLICATE AND EXPAND. THE WELFARE CHECKS SEEM TO BE MORE VEAGUE, ‘HEY I’M GOING TO CALL THE POLICE’ JUST TO SEE IF YOU CAN DO A MENTAL HEALTH CHECK ON THIS PERSON. NOTHING ABOUT TAKING GUNS AWAY, JUST A CHECK UP TO SAY ‘HEY WE’RE WATCHING YOU’ FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM. SVITEK: THE WAY THAT ABBOTT APPROACHED THIS ROUND TABLE STRUCK ME AS HIM TRYING TO FIND SOME COMPROMISE TERRITORY HERE AFTER HE RAISED THE ISSUE OF RED FLAG LAW AFTER THE SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING. HE PUT IT ON THE TABLE AND THERE WAS SWIFT BACKLASH FROM SOME WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY AND THEN HE BACKED AWAY FROM IT. SO HE’S ALREADY FELT SOME OF THE POLITICAL HEAT THAT COMES UP AROUND THIS ISSUE. BUT AT THE SAME TIME THERE ARE SOME REPUBLICANS, A LOT OF DEMOCRATS, WHO DO LIKE THIS IDEA OF RED FLAG LAWS AND DO WANT HIM TO GO THAT PATH. AND SO IT SEEMS LIKE ON THIS ISSUE, HIM BRINGING UP THIS CONCEPT OF HAVING WELFARE CHECK INSTEAD, WHICH AGAIN IS CERTAINLY NOT THE SAME AS A FULL BLOWN RED FLAG LAW, IS AT LEAST HIS EFFORT TO FIND SOME MIDDLE GROUND HERE BUT IT’S A POLITICAL TIGHT ROPE. PRAZAN: TALKING ABOUT THE POLITICS OF THIS, THE CONTEXT OF THIS IS THAT TEXAS IS A MORE COMPETITIVE STATE REPUBLICAN VS. DEMOCRAT AND SO THIS CONVERSATION IS NEW AND INTERESTING FOR US POLITICAL WATCHERS. BECAUSE IF TEXAS WAS STILL A PRIMARY REPUBLICAN VERSUS REPUBLICAN STATE, AND THAT IS WHAT DETERMINED THE STATE LEADERSHIP, WE WOULD NEVER BE HAVING THESE CONVERSATIONS TO BEGIN WITH. SO NOW THAT THERE IS COMPETITION FROM THE DEMOCRATS, IT’S FORCING THE STATE LEADERS TO ACT TOWARDS THE MIDDLE ON THESE ISSUES. ESPECIALLY TO APPEASE SUBURBAN WOMEN WHO ARE REALLY SICK OF THEIR STUDENTS AND FRIENDS GETTING SHOT GOING TO WAL MART OR GOING TO SCHOOLS. THE POLITICAL STAKES OF THIS, AND THE POLITICAL STAKES OF DOING NOTHING ARE REALLY HIGH FOR REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP. SVITEK: GREG ABBOTT’S NOT UP FOR REELECTION NEXT YEAR, DAN PATRICK ISN’T, BUT A LOT OF STATE HOUSE MEMBERS AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARE UP FOR REELECTION IN SUBURBAN DISTRICTS WHERE THE ISSUES OF GUN VIOLENCE INCREASINGLY MATTER. JOSH: PATRICK, PHIL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. SVITEK: THANK YOU. PRAZAN: THANKS, JOSH. JOSH: THANK YOU AGAIN FOR JOINING US FOR STATE OF TEXAS. I’M JOSH HINKLE. WE’LL BE BACK NEXT WEEK TO BRING YOU AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT TEXAS POLITICS. (NEXSTAR CLOSING MUSIC AND




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