In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, rejected many of the proposals for gun reform, including background checks, red flag laws, and changes to age restrictions, before advocating for greater security in schools.
While Crenshaw did acknowledge updates to the background check law could be helpful, he said he still does not support universal background checks.
“This may be something we could agree on is improving our background check system because, look, again, he went through a background check. So the problem isn’t that a red flag law could have solved this, it doesn’t seem clear that would have happened,” said Crenshaw. “The problem is that the background check didn’t capture the full story of this person.”
Crenshaw argued universal background checks would be unrealistic.
“People have to understand what universal background checks, that means that I can no longer sell a gun to my friend,” he said, adding “The people who are least likely to adhere to universal background check are the criminals who intend harm, so I again, it’s an outcome problem.”
Crenshaw said red-flag laws should be up to the states, but he would not support it in Texas. “What you’re essentially trying to do with the red flag law is enforce the law before the law has been broken. And it’s a really difficult thing to do, it’s difficult to assess whether somebody is a threat,” he noted. “Now if they are such a threat that they’re threatening somebody with a weapon already, well, then they’ve already broken the law. So why do you need this other law?”
He argued changing the age limit on buying a gun to 21 would be a slippery slope. “You know, what happens then when we see a 22-year-old commit an atrocity? Are we going to raise it again? And are we going to raise it again? And at a certain point we have to ask ourselves where a limiting principle is.”
The one proposal he seemed open to had nothing to do with restricting access to guns. “I think what needs to change is the things that would have the most immediate and succinct effect, or tangible effect on these things. And that’s actual security at a school,” he said.
Pressed by Bash on whether security and gun reform are mutually exclusive to him, Crenshaw said greater gun control “probably wouldn’t have the outcome that you’re looking for,” and would “infringe on the rights of millions,” whereas additional security would be “fairly easy to afford.”
However, he acknowledged earlier in the interview law enforcement on the scene did not follow protocol and aid students. “Now, I know better than most not to necessarily judge the person who’s walking through the breach, and is in that moment, in the arena. But it does seem clear that protocols were not followed.”
“You have to put away your sense of self-preservation and go through that door. The training clearly states you might get shot, but the guy behind you might be able to get in and save innocent people. You have to put them before you. It doesn’t appear that happened here.”