Abbott Grants $5M Toward El Paso Recovery, Plans Round Table

Governor plans more round table discussions after another mass shooting

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) says the time for talking is over and that it's time to take action following Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso after a gunman opened fire Saturday and killed 22, injuring more than two dozen.

The action the governor wants to take is to once again hold round table discussions with subject matter to experts designed to reduce hate and racism in the state. The Republican governor didn't suggest any substantive gun-control measures and said it was important to preserve the Second Amendment.

He added that it's important to keep guns away from "deranged killers," but didn't say how to do that. He also told reporters that he was not aware of any "red flags" regarding the accused gunman.

Abbott delivered the remarks while in El Paso Wednesday to meet with President Trump, who was flying to the border city to meet with survivors of the shooting and their families.

Abbott said he delivered $5 million to El Paso Wednesday to "assist the people in organizations in El Paso to be able to begin piecing their community back together," but for long term solutions Abbott leaned on the round table discussions first held after the shootings at Santa Fe High School and Sutherland Springs.

Abbott said one of those sessions will be in Austin and the other will be in El Paso; dates for the round tables have not yet been nailed down.

A video replay of the governor's remarks is available above. The remarks can be read below.

I return to El Paso today with a broken heart for the people of El Paso as an entire community with a great sorrow for the victims of this heinous, evil, racist crime that took place here in El Paso and with prayers for the family members as they continue to go through the grieving process.

The purpose of my being here today, with members of the legislature, in a private meeting of only Texas legislators, as well as the entire Texas delegation from El Paso, is because the time for talking is over, the time for action began today.

The first meeting that we had as Texas leaders to build a pathway forward for responding to the tragedy that took place in El Paso just took place in the past hour and a half in this building where I had the opportunity to listen to, hear from, and get input from the entire El Paso delegation. They provided both tremendous insight, great ideas and suggestions about what needs to be done, as well as a call for urgency that we respond quickly, that the people of El Paso know that we as leaders are going to step up and do something to solve what happened here.

Several things in that regard. First I shared with them, something that we are providing to the El Paso community, and that is more than $5 million, delivered today, to assist the people in organizations in El Paso to be able to begin piecing their community back together. Second is we talked about what some of the issues are that need to be addressed, in addition to the immediate funding, we need new and different strategies that go above and beyond what we did in the aftermath of dealing with the shootings that took place at the school in Santa Fe.

But know this, in the aftermath of the shooting that took place at Santa Fe, we went to work. We had hearings, we came up with suggestions that led to laws. And I'm proud to say I signed 25 proposals into law in the aftermath of the shooting at Santa Fe. Our goal, is to show similar resolve and similar results, responding to the shooting that took place here in El Paso.

The issues are different in some regard, in this case we are dealing with domestic terrorism. We are dealing with a white supremacist. We are dealing with racism. We are dealing with broad-based challenges that have to be tackled. As it concerns to domestic terrorism there are certain things that, I, as governor, will be able to make sure happen immediately such as having the Texas Department of Public Safety work with federal and local officials, to begin already, identifying potential terrorists, identifying hate groups, identifying white racists who, or any type of racist, that may pose a threat to anybody.

We will work also on ways to address internet or online social media-based sites where racism or hate has been promoted including trying to assemble groups that can help us meet those challenges. It could be leaders from Google, Facebook, or other online sites. We need to work on ways to ban things like, what I'll pronounce as, 8chan (eight-chan) the site where the killer here in El Paso posted his manifesto.

We need to look on broader-based issues as a state and as a people to reduce racism and hate in this state -- to tamp down the rhetoric, to promote more unity. We need to also ensure that guns are not in the hands of deranged killers like the man who committed this heinous crime here in El Paso while also at the same time ensuring that constitutional rights are not going to be violated.

The bottom line is that there is much to be done and there's a need for speed. I will be announcing soon organized round tables to begin this process. We want to let the immediate grieving process in El Paso finish and  we will begin the round tables this month. Probably as soon as the week after next. But we need to do some organizing to make sure that we will be able to meet that time table.

These round tables, one will take place in Austin but we also want one to take place here in El Paso. These will be round tables with experts in all of these challenging fields. Experts who have dealt with these issues before who can give us advice on laws that can be proposed, on executive action that I can take, on things that we can do immediately to make the El Paso community safer, but candidly to make all Texans safer.

Our job is to keep Texans safe. We take that job seriously. We will act swiftly and aggressively to achieve it.

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