Former State Representative Matt Rinaldi sharply criticized Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in a recent piece for Texas Scorecard.
Rinaldi started off by recounting Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke declaration to take people’s AR-15s in the third presidential debate.
Like many observers, Rinaldi believes that “Beto shouldn’t worry gun owners. He holds no office, is at 1 percent in the polls, and will not be able to affect Texans’ gun rights in any material way in the foreseeable future.”
On the other hand, the former elected official argues that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick “poses the biggest threat to Texas gun owners.”
He specifically alluded to Patrick’s push for universal background checks.
Rinaldi detailed what this proposal consists of:
Patrick wants to enact a law prohibiting private gun sales without a background check. While to a layperson this may seem innocuous, it would in practice remove Democrats’ most significant logistical barrier to confiscation by creating a gun registry.
He also highlighted the bureaucratic hoops that prospective gun owners must jump through:
That is, every purchaser of firearms going through a background check is required to fill out ATF Form 4473, which contains detailed information about the purchaser and the firearm purchased, including the type of weapon and serial number. The seller is required to keep the form on file for 20 years in the case of a completed sale and turn the forms over to the ATF if the seller goes out of business.
Unlike his establishment Republican colleagues, Rinaldi sees the bigger picture. He argues that a “law requiring background checks for such sales would create a complete record of firearm transfers—a registry—which is only a subpoena or congressional vote from the federal government’s possession.”
However, Patrick was not the only one who received criticism from Rinaldi. He declared that “Conservatives shouldn’t let Gov. Greg Abbott off the hook, either.”
Although Abbott’s “Safety Action Report” did not blatantly include a red flag or mandatory background check proposal, it is still “nuanced to leave the door open to Patrick’s plan.”
Rinaldi expanded on this:
Specifically, the report calls for “ways to make it easy, affordable, and beneficial for a private seller of firearms to voluntarily use background checks when selling firearms to strangers [emphasis mine].” The definition of the words “voluntary” and “beneficial” are unclear but extremely important. If, for example, the governor intends to make it “beneficial” to use a background check for private sales by imposing civil liability where one is not used, the background checks are not truly voluntary.
For the former Constitutional Carry champion, compromising on the Second Amendment “is a sure way to demoralize the GOP base, destroy the Republican brand, and turn Texas blue.”
Rinaldi concluded on a high note:
When a GOP official is asked, “What are we doing to protect the public?” the correct answer is: “The same thing we did to successfully reduce the murder rate by half in the past 30 years: giving the public the means to defend themselves and their families by encouraging lawful gun ownership.”
Even out of office, Rinaldi continues to be a vocal conservative in Texas.
With Texas’s rapidly changing political climate, conservative voices like him must hold Texas’ political class accountable.
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