Texas’ top three officials, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton, met with members of the El Paso State Legislative Delegation Wednesday in response to last weekend’s mass shooting in the city that killed 22 and injured 26.
In a press conference following a private meeting with the state legislators, Gov. Abbott addressed the public, saying, “The time for talking is over. The time for action began today.”
Responding to what he called a “call for urgency…to respond quickly” expressed by El Paso representatives, Gov. Abbott announced the state would provide more than $5 million to assist El Paso local government and organizations to help with recovery and community healing.
Recalling last year’s school shooting in Santa Fe, Gov. Abbott stated the need for “new and different strategies that go above and beyond what we did” in 2018, when he signed 25 proposals into law.
In a shift from his earlier comments that focused on fighting mental health issues, Gov. Abbott labeled domestic terrorism, white supremacy, and racism as key factors in this attack.
He then spoke about the need to work with federal and local officials to identify terrorists, hate groups and “white racists, or any type of racists,” in addition to meeting with leaders of social media companies whose platforms provide forums for the promotion of racism and hate.
He went on to say that it’s important to make sure that guns are not in the hands of “deranged killers,” without infringing on the “constitutional” rights of gun owners.
As for next steps, Gov. Abbott spoke about putting together round tables in Austin and El Paso that will include experts who can “give advice…on things that we can do immediately…to make all Texans safer. Our job is to keep Texans safe.”
For a primer on how Gov. Abbott and other legislators responded directly after the shooting, click here.