Texas Governor Greg Abbott Issues Executive Orders to Halt Mass Shootings
Greg Abbott and Family
Abbott Responds to Odessa and El Paso Shoootings
In the wake of two mass shootings in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has issued eight executive orders to stop potential mass shooters in the future. The second term governor said, "Texas must achieve several objectives to better protect our communities and our residents from mass shootings."
El Paso Suspect's Mother Warned Authorities
In a press release, Abbott's office mentioned the El Paso suspect's mother had warned authorities weeks before his rampage. In the MIdland-Odessa shooting, the gunman had called both local and federal authorities before the shootings. The new orders issued by the former Attorrney General of Texas aimed at closing what Abbott referred to as the "information gap."
Order Allows Weapons in Churches and Synagogues
One of the governor's orders allows law-abiding citizens to carry weapons when they attend churches and synagogues. This protection applies to only licensed handgun gun owners. Many religious leaders have lauded this as a way to protect their congregations during church services.
Ban Landlords From Prohibiting Tenants to Own Handguns
The third order prohibits landlords and homeowners from prohibiting tenants to own, carry and transport guns on their property. This order could provide additional protection for people in their homes against possible burglars, kidnappers and even murderers. One serial rapist in Texas kidnapped more than eight women from their homes and sexually assaulted them.
Prevents School Districts From Prohibiting Arms
The next order allows protection for schools in the Lone Star State. School districts may no longer prohibit licensed gun owners...including school employees....from storing guns and ammunition in school parking lots as long as it is not in plain view. This should offer greater protection to teachers who will have more protection from random shooters similar to the Columbine tragedy which occurred in a Colorado school several years ago.
Protection For Foster Homes
The governor also issued an order allowing foster homes to store firearms. This is a sweeping change which will allow foster parents to protect the children who are entrusted to their care. This is an innovation which should protect one of the most vulnerable segments of the state's population.
Allow Schools to Have More Armed Marshals
The allowance of more armed marshals on campus is a major innovation which should protect teachers and students alike. This could prevent tragedies such as the Columbine shooting which occurred in Colorado several years ago.
Another of the landmark orders issued by the active governor prevents citizens from being charged with carrying a handgun without a license while evacuating or returning to a declared disaster zone. This should offer homeowners protection from looters and other criminals who prey on victims of hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.
Disaster Shelter Protection
Another of Abbott's original rules is to allow disaster evacuees who have guns. This should provide further protection for law-abiding victims of natural disasters from the criminal element.
Defends Licensed Gun Owners
Yet another order will defend licensed gun owners who unknowingly enter designated gun-free zones as long as they leave after being told about the policy. This is a protection for those who might make innocent mistakes.
The governor tweeted Wednesday that he will announce "legislative considerations next week." The Texas Legislature meets one every two years. It will meet again ins 2021.
Abbott further tweeted that the Odessa suspect failed a background check. Law enforcement officials have revealed the gunman and his company both called 911 before the rampage along the I-20 corridor which runs from Midland to Odessa.
The Austin-American Statesman reported that the gunman was arrested for evading arrest and criminal trespass in McLennan County in 2001, when he was 18. He received deferred adjudication. That is a form of probation which doesn't result in a final conviction if the person serves it out successfully.
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said the shooter had been fired from his job before the tragedy. Gerke also said the shooter and his boss were involved in an altercation. The company then called 911 to report the incident. The gunman himself called the FBI's tip line, according to the chief.
FBI Special Agent added the gunman was "rambling" but not threatening when he called the tip line.
The shooting spree began 15 minutes after that call when two Texas Department of Public Safety troopers pulled over the man for a traffic violation stopped the man for a traffic violation.
The traffic stop escalated to a random shooting which resulted in the death of one of the troopers. He then drove around Midland and Odessa, shooting at others. He later ditched his car and shot to death a 29-year old U.S. Postal Service letter carrier. He continued his murderous rampage from the stolen postal van.
Abbott Advocates 'Expedited Executions'
In addition to issuing the executive orders, Abbott mentioned that "we're working on a legislative package right now" and that "expedited executions for mass murderers would be a nice addition."
In Texas, the average time spent on death row is almost 11 years, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. More than 200 people on death row have been there an average of nearly 16 years.
Governor Abbott issued a statement about the shooting in Odessa, saying, "The First Lady and I are heartbroken over this senseless and cowardly attack, and we offer our unwavering support to the victims, their families, and all the people of Midland and Odessa.
Abbott Visits Odessa
The governor also responded to the latest shootings by holding a press conference at the University of Texas Permian Basin. Abbott said he's "been to too many of these events. First in downtown Dallas that killed police, Sutherland Springs. Santa Fe."
After Santa Fe, Abbott signed more than 15 laws for safety. After El Paso, he said he worked with many people, and they are drafting solutions for the legislation.
Odessa Shooter Purchased From Private Gun Seller
Abbott is emphasizing "suspicious activity" reporting following recent shootings. Seth Ator wasn't supposed to have a gun, according to an article in the Houston Chronicle. He purchased one from a private seller, avoiding a background check. Neighbors reported he shot his gun from the second-floor window of the shack where he lived in West Odessa.
Some called the Odessa shooter "El Loco"....the crazy one. He killed seven people during his rampage from Midland to Odessa.
Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to work more closely with law enforcement to gather intelligence and analyze potential threats in wake of the Permian Basin tragedy. He launched a public awareness campaign for the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network, encouraging residents to report information about potential gunmen.
Mass Shooting Prevention
Texas top statesman Abbott emphasized the prevention of future violence, saying, "Texas must achieve several objectives to better protect our communities and our residents from mass shootings. One of theses objectives is to marshal law enforcement resources to stop violent criminals before they commit mass murders. But more must be done."
Texas Democrats Quiet
Texas House Democrats were quiet about the governor's executive orders. They said they wanted a special session to be called. A private sector security consultant praised the governor's move to better inform the public about reporting suspicious activity.
Mass Attacks in U.S.
There were 27 mass attacks in the U.S. last year. The numbers of victims are alarming in that 91 people were killed and 107 others injured in places like schools, workplaces and other public places, according to the United States Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center.
Grievances connected to workplaces accounted for half of those tragedies. Two thirds of attackers had a history of exhibiting mental illness, such as depressive, suicidal or psychotic symptoms. Nearly all had suffered at least one significant stressor in the last five years.