Governor Abbott Urges TDCAA To Increase Lie-And-Try Prosecutions To Protect Texas Communities
Governor Greg Abbott today sent a letter urging Texas District & County Attorneys Association (TDCAA) Executive Director Robert Kepple to highlight the lie-and-try law as a new tool for Texas prosecutors and provide training for prosecutors and investigators regarding best practices for prosecuting such offenses to help protect their communities. The Governor signed lie-and-try legislation into law last session, making it a state jail felony to falsify information on a background check form in an attempt to illegally purchase a firearm.
"Texas is committed to keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people who cannot lawfully possess them," reads the letter. "The tragic shooting in Uvalde compels us to redouble those efforts. Last session, in response to mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa, I signed a lie-and-try bill that makes it a state jail felony to falsify information on a background-check form, such as ATF Form 4473, in an attempt to illegally purchase a firearm. Ideally, the federal government would prosecute these lie-and-try offenses, but that rarely happens. Aggressive enforcement of Texas’s new lie-and-try law can help pick up the slack and deter felons, drug addicts, people facing mental health challenges, and certain dangerous individuals from obtaining firearms when they are prohibited by law from doing so."
Governor Abbott has taken significant action to provide all available resources to support the Uvalde community following the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School. Those actions include:
- Initiating the State of Texas' comprehensive plan to assist and support members of the community, including co-locating state agency representatives to the Family Assistance Center for on-hand assistance in finding benefits.
- Issuing a disaster declaration at the request of local leaders to accelerate all available state and local resources to assist the Uvalde community.
- Requesting Texas legislative leaders convene special legislative committees to begin examining and developing legislative recommendations on school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety, and more.
- Directing the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) to begin immediately conducting comprehensive school safety reviews to ensure all Texas public schools are following the appropriate procedures to maximize school safety.
- Directing the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to provide strategies to make Texas public schools safer through heightened safety standards.
- Instructing the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) programs to provide training to all school districts across the state, prioritizing school-based law enforcement.
- Directing TEA, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to expand and accelerate the ability to report suspicious activity through the iWatchTexas reporting system.
- Investing an initial $5 million into establishing a long-term Family Resiliency Center in Uvalde County to serve as a hub for community services, including access to the critical mental health resources.
- Working with the OneStar Foundation to create a one-stop webpage for donations to support the victims' families, teachers, and the Uvalde community.
- Directing the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to ensure all children in Uvalde have access to behavioral health resources and community support.
- Directing TEA to create a new Chief of School Safety and Security position within the agency.