Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick took a surprisingly defiant position against one of his major supporters on Friday -- the NRA.
Patrick, an avid gun rights support, told Fox News on Friday that the NRA is wrong not to address the issue of stranger-to-stranger gun sales. Patrick wants to extend mandatory background checks to those types of private transactions.
Investigators believe the Odessa mass shooter bypassed a background check through a private purchase from someone who illegally built and sold the rifle out of Lubbock.
Patrick said someone in the Republican Party needs to take the lead on the issue.
“About 10 percent to 15 percent of guns bought in this country are bought stranger-to-stranger, they don't know who they're selling to. Could be a felon, could be someone getting ready to rob a bank, could be someone about to commit a mass act of violence and we have to stop the stranger to stranger sales,” Patrick said.
“There is no need for a stranger to sell another gun to a stranger. That’s irresponsible, and the NRA needs to get behind that. That’s where Republican voters are, that’s where many Republican legislators are and I believe that can pass Congress,” Patrick added.
The NRA responded Friday afternoon with a statement pointing to what it called a "critical concession" by the Obama administration -- that criminalizing private firearm transfers would require a massive, governmental gun registration scheme.
In a statement, the NRA said: “Criminalizing private firearm transfers would require a massive, governmental gun registration scheme.”
The gun lobby also called for enforcing existing gun laws that require follow-up whenever a prohibited person tries to buy a firearm.
Coincidentally, this comes as the NRA’s Personal Protection Expo is underway in downtown Fort Worth.
At the event, it’s getting a lot of attention — not just because a Republican is picking a fight with the NRA, but because it’s one so staunchly conservative as Patrick is.
At the NRA expo in Fort Worth, some attendees weren’t on board with Patrick’s proposal.
“It’s a slippery slope, I mean, if they start saying, ‘No, you can’t let your dad or your brother borrow a gun to go hunting unless you take them to do a background check,’” said John Bodiford.
“It’s not going to be enforceable man, unless they have actual gun registration, it’s not going to be enforceable,” Jason Richards said.
In recent days, both the Texas House and Senate, which Patrick presides over, have appointed committees to look at preventing violence.
That includes keeping guns out of the hands of felons.