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It is an utter cliche now that at any time when there’s an outburst of gun violence reminiscent of final Might’s slaughter of schoolchildren in Uvalde, the GOP management – which final session eradicated the necessity for gun homeowners to carry any form of allow to hold their weapons in public – pivots to vow to as a substitute enhance psychological well being companies that would preserve troubled younger males (principally) from turning to violence. Properly, now can be an excellent time for that! Cash is considerable. So what occurs subsequent?
As of this writing, there are 118 filed payments categorized as pertaining to “weapons” or “psychological well being.” Of the previous, Democrats have filed new variations of their perennial makes an attempt to set some limits on straw purchases, high-capacity magazines or purchases of enormous quantities of ammo, gross sales at gun reveals with out background checks, and within the wake of Uvalde, limits on assault weapons. There was final yr some bipartisan momentum behind elevating the age for proudly owning an AR-15 or related weapon to 21 – which theoretically may have averted 4 of the final 5 mass shootings in Texas – however a courtroom case final yr that overturned an identical age requirement on “constitutional carry” has in all probability put the kibosh on these plans. There are additionally payments, that will have a little bit little bit of traction this time, to create standardized extreme-risk protecting orders (“crimson flag” legal guidelines) that might permit regulation enforcement, with a choose’s permission, to quickly take away weapons from the households of these at biggest danger for violence, often household violence. Home Invoice 88 by Rep. Vikki Goodwin, D-Austin, would create a brand new gross sales tax on weapons and ammo to fund the Well being and Human Providers Fee’s household violence prevention program.
On the psychological well being entrance, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has already indicated some curiosity in increasing the state’s community of psychological hospital companies by utilizing among the huge finances surplus. Payments have additionally been filed to ease restrictions on the state’s means to reimburse non-public psychological well being suppliers for companies that the overburdened public hospitals are proper now obligated to offer, reminiscent of competency restoration for felony defendants. As for faculties, twin payments filed by Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, and Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, acknowledge that native college districts don’t have the cash to offer often-expensive psychological well being companies (together with medicines) to distressed college students who’re unlikely to get assist anyplace else, and permit for these bills to be reimbursed by Texas Medicaid.