Governor Greg Abbott, responding to the horrific attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, announced that he’ll call for a Police Protection Act. His proposed legislation would:
Extend hate crime protections to law enforcement officers.
Increase criminal penalties for any crime in which the victim is a law enforcement officer, whether or not the crime qualifies as a hate crime.
Create a culture of respect for law enforcement by organizing a campaign to educate young Texans on the value law enforcement officers bring to their communities.
Let’s talk about that culture of respect, and Governor Abbott’s role in creating or degrading it.
As lawmakers prepared open carry and campus carry legislation in advance of the 2015 session, Abbott made it crystal clear that he was Governor Gun:
“I will sign whichever open carry bill withstands the legislative process and makes it to my desk.”
He made good on his promise, signing bills that allow for the open carry of holstered handguns, and open carry on public college and university campuses.
He championed those laws, even though 75% of Texas police chiefs surveyed opposed them. They spoke out in committee, they lobbied furiously in hallways, and they went very public with their concerns:
I’m opposed to open carry. As a police chief trying to keep two and a half million people safe, I’m just opposed to inserting more guns into a situation that I feel like could cause more harm. ~Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland
To no avail. The monogram on the governor’s shirts might as well stand for Guns With Ammo.
When the chief of the largest city in your state, joined by the heads of almost every major law enforcement agency, opposes a law, and you pass it anyway, can it be said that you truly operate in a culture of respect for the police?