| AUSTIN, Texas
AUSTIN, Texas May 26 Texas Governor Greg Abbott
joked about threatening to shoot reporters while visiting a gun
range on Friday to sign a bill lowering the cost of a handgun
license, drawing criticism from gun-safety advocates who called
his remarks "dangerous."
Abbott signed the bill at an indoor gun range in Austin, the
state capital, then demonstrated his own shooting skills at an
upstairs firing gallery before holding up his bullet-pocked
target and quipping, "I'm gonna carry this around in case I see
A photo of the moment, published by the Texas Tribune,
showed the grinning first-term Republican governor pointing to
the center of the paper target, where three rounds had pierced
the bull's eye circle.
His comment drew a sharp rebuke from the Washington-based
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which noted the incident
comes amid increasingly heated rhetoric from Republican
President Donald Trump and supporters vilifying the news media.
"This joke was dangerous and out of line. Because it's never
just a joke to some," the statement said. "Words matter. In a
state and country where dangerous people can still so easily buy
guns without a background check, leaders of every political
stripe should be careful not to green light violence on their
The gun safety group also cited the misdemeanor assault
charge filed on Wednesday against Republican Congressman-elect
Greg Gianforte of Montana, accused of body-slamming a reporter
who asked him about healthcare on the eve of his election.
The Brady Campaign, named for the late former White House
press secretary James Brady, has focused on seeking expanded
background checks required for individuals purchasing firearms.
Brady was gravely wounded by a 1981 attempt on President Ronald
Abbott's office did not respond to repeated requests by
Reuters for comment on his remarks.
The bill he signed will cut state fees for the first-time
license to carry a handgun from $140 to $40, and lower the
renewal fee from $70 to $40, starting in September. It also
waives the fees for peace officers and members of the military.
"No law-abiding Texan should be priced out of the ability to
exercise their Second Amendment rights," Abbott said in signing
(Additional reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los
Angeles; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Shumaker)