In an act of political calculation, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suddenly announced that he will defy the National Rifle Association and take the lead on new anti-gun legislation.
Patrick, who is normally a strong advocate for the Second Amendment, said on Friday that he would “take the arrow” and work to add new background check laws to the Texas books.
The Lt. Gov. said he would back stranger-to-stranger background checks in defiance of the NRA calling the move for such a new law a “common sense” policy.
“That gap of stranger to stranger we have to close, in my view,” Patrick told the Dallas Morning News.
“When I talk to gun owners, NRA members and voters, people don’t understand why we allow strangers to sell guns to total strangers when they have no idea if the person they’re selling the gun to could be a felon, could be someone who’s getting a gun to go commit a crime or could be a potential mass shooter or someone who has serious mental issues,” Patrick told the paper.
“Look, I’m a solid NRA guy,” he added, “but not expanding the background check to eliminate the stranger to stranger sale makes no sense to me and … most folks.”
Needless to say, the NRA was not happy with the LT’s announcement.
“Criminalizing private firearm transfers would require a massive, governmental gun registration scheme,” said the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
“Instead of trampling the freedom of law-abiding Americans, the government should focus upon actual solutions: fixing our broken mental health system, prosecuting known criminals and enforcing the existing gun laws that require follow-up whenever a prohibited person tries to buy a firearm,” the statement concluded.
This is likely a political maneuver, though. Patrick is attempting to straddle the line between NRA supporter (which he normally has been) to making it look like he is “reasonable” on the issue to appeal to the growing number of liberal Texans who might feel kindly to him.
In fact, there is no evidence that stranger-to-stranger background checks would head off any crime.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.Don't forget to Like Godfather Politics on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.
Become an insider!
Sign up for the free Godfather Politics email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.