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Texas is unlikely to pass the Red Flag Act provisions included in bipartisan gun control legislation that is expected to advance in the US Senate on Thursday, even if the bill is fast-tracked after passage of the bill. Uvalde massacre, according to reports.
The current 80-page bipartisan Safer Communities Act bill will make $750 million in federal funding available to help states administer a red flag law if they have or pass one — though the States without them can also claim money by adopting other policies unrelated to guns.
But the federal legislation, while backed by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, will likely be a non-starter for other Republican leaders in Texas given the backlash Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott received when he asked the state legislature to consider red. flag laws four years ago, the Texas Tribune reported.
Although the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead, was one of the inspirations for Capitol Hill lawmakers to write the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Lt. Gov. of Texas, Dan Patrick, said in a recent radio interview that he still opposes red flags as part of a legislative solution.
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“After the Santa Fe shooting, we had the same decision to do this and we didn’t support it,” he said in a radio interview. Patrick, who chairs the state Senate and has a strong influence on the proposed legislation, said if he had been in the US Senate he would have been among 36 Republicans, including Senator Ted Cruz, to vote against the federal proposal on Tuesday. .
Cornyn, who received boos and jeers from the crowd during her address to the Texas GOP convention last week, led Republican negotiations on the federal proposal while insisting that she would not introduce National Red Flag Act for all 31 states without state-level versions. .
He insisted that it would be up to state legislatures and noted that federal funding can be used for “law enforcement-related grants to crisis response programs, whether you’ve passed a red flag program or not”.
The nation’s first red flag law was passed in Connecticut in 1999, allowing police — but not medical professionals or family members — to ask a judge for permission to seize firearms. a person considered extremely dangerous to themselves or others.
Over the next two decades, a handful of other states passed similar laws, and for some states, people other than the police — such as family members — can petition the courts to have their guns removed or to prevent a person from buying weapons if they are considered a danger to himself or others.
In 2018, the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida sparked a new round of red flag laws. By the end of 2021, 19 states and the District of Columbia had passed similar legislation. Not all states agree, however: In 2020, Oklahoma banned its counties and municipalities from passing red flag laws.
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The bill is due for consideration in the US Senate on Thursday even after the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on the same day as New York‘s regulations, which made it difficult to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun, were unconstitutionally restrictive, and that it should be easier to obtain such a license.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.