Texas Gov. Greg Abbott enacted a two-year spending bill this weekend that included a $1 million public safety campaign for firearm storage opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun rights activists.
Abbott, a Republican, approved the $250 billion budget without any line-item vetoes.
The money would go to the Texas Department of Public Safety to design and deploy a campaign promoting safe gun storage, similar to those warning against drunk driving and encouraging motorists to use their seatbelt. A bill to write the program into state law was opposed by the NRA and gun-rights activists and did not reach a vote.
An NRA lobbyist told lawmakers that a campaign designed by Texas state police could be corrupted by anti-gun rhetoric. However, the money was approved by the Republican-controlled Texas House of Representatives and later supported by Senate budget negotiators by mid-May.
The program comes into effect following a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston that killed 10 people and wounded 13 others in May 2018. Investigators said the then-17-year-old gunman took his father’s weapons before opening fire. After that shooting, Abbott said he wanted to “encourage the millions of law-abiding, gun-owning Texans to embrace their personal responsibility for gun safety.”
The governor did not mention in the program in a statement about the budget that was released Saturday.
Last month, Texas lawmakers voted to allow anyone who can legally own a gun to carry it openly or concealed for a week after a natural disaster declaration.
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