Texas Lieutenant Governor: Time to Close Private Gun Sale Loophole

After Texas experienced two mass shootings over the summer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) says the state should close the gap in stranger-to-stranger private gun sales, allowing exemptions for sales between friends and family members.

Texas does not currently require background checks for private gun sales.

The gunman in the Midland-Odessa mass shooting bought his rifle in a private sale.

In response, the NRA said the government should focus on the mental health system, prosecute known criminals and enforce existing gun laws.

Groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said Patrick's proposal was a step in the right direction.

"The overarching idea of closing loopholes to head in the direction of background checks on all gun sales is something we welcome," said Donna Schmidt with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action.

The group has advocated for measures that include universal background checks and a red flag law.

"If we're being mowed down in shopping centers, in churches and in schools, it's past time, way past time, that this kind of measure should be addressed," Schmidt said.

Federal law requires licensed dealers to conduct a criminal background check, and gun shops may stand to benefit from Patrick's proposal. Patrick has said private sellers could pay a fee to gun shops for a background check before they make a sale.

"I don't need money that bad," said David Prince -- owner of two Eagle Gun Range locations, in Farmers Branch and Lewisville.

"My biggest concern is what's it going to stop? The bad guys are going to keep the guns, the good guys -- you're going to make it harder for good people to be able to defend themselves," Prince said.

He said Patrick's proposal amounted to political lip service, and said enforcement of private gun sales would be impossible without a national gun registry. Prince also questioned the enforcement of the proposal with exemptions for friends and family.

"How do you determine who is a friend of a friend? Is that our job? Or the FBI's job? How do we know who is a friend of a friend?" Prince said.

Democratic lawmakers in the Texas House have called on Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to call a special session to address gun laws. He has not indicated he would.

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