Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Set to Convene First Meeting on El Paso Shooting

This is a developing story.AUSTIN -- Responding to the mass shooting in El Paso earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday will convene the first of two meetings with officeholders, law enforcement officials, tech company executives, experts and advocates.Abbott's newly created Texas Safety Commission will meet Thursday morning at the state Capitol in Austin and in El Paso on Aug. 29.Abbott initially named a 27-member panel. But after gun-rights activists complained he selected Ed Scruggs of Texas Gun Sense, which advocates for safety-based limits on guns, and not a 2nd Amendment activist, on Wednesday, the governor added to the group Mike Cox with the Texas State Rifle Association.At a press conference near the Capitol early Thursday, Gun Owners of Texas state director Rachel Malone warned the commission not to restrict access to guns or limit gun owners' ability to carry their weapons."The threat is not guns," she said. "Evil people are always going to find a way to carry out their evil plans.Abbott has charged the panel with devising strategies "to provide community healing, combat the rise of extremist groups and hateful ideologies, keep guns out of the hands of deranged individuals, and combat domestic terrorism, including cybersecurity threats," said a release from the governor's office.The plan will "address the link between mental health challenges and gun violence in our communities," he said.In the Aug. 3 gun massacre at a Walmart on El Paso's east side, the suspected gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Collin County, carrying a semiautomatic civilian version of an AK-47, killed 22 people and injured 24 others.Abbott also named a Domestic Terrorism Task Force, a group mostly focused on coordinating and improving law enforcement agencies' attempts to ferret out threats posed by white supremacists and hate groups. It will have its first meeting next week.  Continue reading...

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