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Texas Republicans Turn To Newtown Group To Promote Gun Safety Education

Flickr user David Trawin (trawin)

One of Gov. Greg Abbott’s initiatives for reducing school shootings and promoting gun safety taps into an unlikely source: the gun industry. The governor’s office has provided a $1 million grant to a Newtown, Connecticut-based advocacy group to promote their gun storage education program throughout Texas.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry, was created to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. But another part of the group’s mission has been writing gun-safety and gun-instruction standards, which is one of the reasons why Abbott selected the group to promote their Kids Safe gun storage program.

Police reports indicate the teen shooter who took the lives of 10 people during the Santa Fe High School shooting had gained access to his father’s guns prior his deadly rampage.

“Now I’m not suggesting, nor am I promoting, mandatory purchase of gun locks. I do have in my plan to work with a proven organization to provide gun locks,” Abbott said.

Mark Oliva, with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said the group teams up with local law enforcement groups to educate various communities and organizations about the benefits of safe gun storage in the home.

“We team up with the law enforcement agencies to provide these gun safety kits, which includes literature and recommendations on why you should store your firearms safely, why you should store your firearms safely, and then provide those persons with a gun lock — particularly as we head into these summer months and we realize children are getting out of school and they are going to be home and have more free time on their hands,” Oliva said.

And that’s something that has the support of not only the governor but also gun advocacy groups like the Texas Rifle Association.

The National Shooting Sport Foundation has also teamed up with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn to promote his federal legislation filed after the Sutherland Springs church shooting that will try to strengthen the background check system used to screen anyone attempting to purchase a gun.

The group’s legislative director Alice Tripp said, “They’ve got some really, really good programs and one of them is child safe and we recommend it."

Ryan Poppe can be reached atrpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter@RyanPoppe1

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.