Texas

Guns, terrorism and social media discussed at Gov. Abbott's initial post-El Paso safety roundtable

Governor leads domestic terrorism...

AUSTIN, Texas - The first domestic terrorism roundtable discussion promised by the Texas governor after the Aug. 3 mass shooting attack in El Paso was held Thursday in Austin.

The Texas Safety Commission brought the governor and state legislators to the table along with experts from law enforcement to technology. The commission met for five hours discussing gun violence and domestic terrorism, including the growth of white nationalism.

Police say the suspected attacker, Patrick Crusius, wrote a racist manifesto and published it online before opening fire. That website, 8chan, was already blacklisted from Google and has been scrubbed off the open internet since the attack.

State Rep. Cesar Blanco of El Paso said representatives from tech companies like Twitter and Google who attended the discussion had other ideas to fight hate speech.

“If Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram and others identify some of these hate groups that have some activity on their platforms there’s got to be coordination with state law enforcement as well as federal law enforcement to report this activity that’s happening online,” Blanco said.

Blanco said the governor was supportive, and they’re open to both executive action along with bringing solutions up in the next legislative session slated for 2021.

“I will be issuing a report talking about ideas that we;ve discussed as well as potential solutions that can be taken both immediately and on a long term basis,” Gov. Greg Abbott said.

Guns and regulations to keep them in good hands were also at the center of talks.

“There was an acknowledgement that, specifically with background checks, that there’s a need to close the gaps and that there’s an importance of speeding up the background check process. Also, as it relates to guns, we need to address private sales because there aren’t any background checks happening from one private individual selling a gun to another private individual. That could be dangerous because one individual may not know if that other person is a white nationalist or what have you,” Blanco said.

The next roundtable meeting is scheduled for Aug. 29 in El Paso.


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