State Rep. Bryan Slaton doesn’t mince words.

John Cornyn is a cowardly sellout.  

“Senator John Cornyn’s betrayal is nothing less than an act of cowardice. I will be fighting to ensure Texas never even considers taking his bribe to pass red flag laws or any other gun control policies. Texas Republicans are tired of being sold out by the leaders of their own party. Now is the time to unite against the Democrats, not join them in passing their agenda,” said Slaton.

Wielding his rhetoric like a flamethrower, our representative to the Texas House let loose another burning salvo.

“The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. I am committed to defending the rights of Texas gun owners against Compromise Cornyn, Washington Democrats, and any other individual who seeks to attack the natural right of self-defense. Come and Take it.”

Compromise Cornyn’s unpardonable sin? He helped broker a deal that attempts to address America’s societal plague known as school shootings. Among other things, the Senate bill would enhance background checks on purchases by those younger than 21, clarify who must register as a federal firearms dealer, encourage crackdowns on illegal gun trafficking, provide more authority to remove guns from people deemed to be a danger to others or themselves or who have committed domestic violence. (Republicans were able to secure funding for states that do not have red flag laws but have other crises intervention programs.) The bill also provides $11 billion for mental health services and $2 billion for community-based antiviolence programs. Also contained is funding for more school-based mental health centers and support for suicide hotlines.

By Slaton’s logic, the other 13 Senate Republicans who supported the deal must be cowards and sellouts, too.

But at least those cowards and sellouts acted – unlike anything Slaton has or probably ever will do after Uvalde and Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe and El Paso and Midland-Odessa. And no, saying unkind things about drag queens doesn’t count.

Will these measures taken by the Senate end this scourge of mass killings in our schools and churches and shopping centers? We doubt it. More needs to be done on multiple fronts.

Yet the bill is a start, one that does not infringe on the Second Amendment rights of any levelheaded and legal gun owner, and one that addresses mental health and school safety. It’s a compromise bill crafted by adult legislators, not the sort of pols who latch themselves to the underside of their base like a barnacle and spew rhetoric as inflammatory as it is calculated to win plaudits from like-minded supporters.

We ask: Who’s the real coward?

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