Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, a Republican, stated that he is “willing to take an arrow” by openly defying the National Rifle Association (NRA). Patrick is pushing to close a major loophole in how his state handles gun purchases, proposing “common sense” background check requirements for “stranger-to-stranger” sales. Currently, many stranger-to-stranger sales in his state are exempt from background check requirements.
On Friday, according to a report by Dallas News, Patrick said that tightening the background check laws is “common sense.” In Texas, many stranger-to-stranger sales do not require background checks, potentially allowing those who are not eligible to purchase a firearm to acquire a weapon.
Patrick added that the state of Texas needs to discourage gun sales between strangers if a background check isn’t conducted.
“That gap of stranger to stranger we have to close, in my view,” said Patrick, a conservative Republican and vocal gun-rights advocate.
“When I talk to gun owners, NRA members, and voters,” he continued, “people don’t understand why we allow strangers to sell guns to total strangers when they have no idea if the person they’re selling the gun to could be a felon, could be someone who’s getting a gun to go commit a crime or could be a potential mass shooter or someone who has serious mental issues.”
“Look, I’m a solid NRA guy,” Patrick added, “but not expanding the background check to eliminate the stranger to stranger sale makes no sense to me and … most folks.”
“Someone in the Republican Party has to take the lead on this,” Patrick asserted while also warning that a lack of action on the part of Republicans could allow Democrats to get a stronger foothold, both in Texas and on a national level.
The NRA responded shortly after Patrick made his remarks, calling what he is proposing “political gambits” that could “resurrect the same broken, Bloomberg-funded failures that were attempted under the Obama administration.”
“Criminalizing private firearm transfers would require a massive, governmental gun registration scheme,” said the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the organization’s lobbying arm, in a statement. “Instead of trampling the freedom of law-abiding Americans, the government should focus upon actual solutions: fixing our broken mental health system, prosecuting known criminals and enforcing the existing gun laws that require follow-up whenever a prohibited person tries to buy a firearm.”
Patrick – who presides over Texas’s Senate – does want certain exemptions to remain in place, such as when a sale is between family members or friends. However, he acknowledges that such a system could be abused.