Texas Republicans are vowing to defy any new federal gun rules. Experts say it’s largely a symbolic gesture.

Texas Republicans are vowing to defy any new federal gun rules. Experts say it's largely a symbolic gesture.

Federal calls for action after recent mass shootings have put Gov. Greg Abbott and GOP state lawmakers on the defensive . Now they’re laying the groundwork to block federal gun regulations through legislation that would make Texas a “Second Amendment sanctuary state,” prohibiting state agencies and local governments from enforcing new federal gun rules. But legal experts say the move is largely symbolic, and that its practical effect would be to make it harder — but not impossible — for federal officials to enforce new gun control measures. The push to steel Texas against federal rules comes amid several instances of gun violence nationwide — including a shooting in Bryan on April 8 and another in Austin on Sunday . The longstanding debate in Washington, D.C., over gun control has reignited, moving Democrats in Congress and the White House to call for an assault weapons ban and stronger background checks, among other changes. “We need to erect a complete barrier against any government official anywhere from treading on gun rights in Texas," Abbott said during his annual State of the State address in February. If the legislation passes, Texas would join Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Wyoming and Arizona – along with more than 400 local governments in at least 20 states – in declaring themselves sanctuaries for gun rights. “This is what I’m seeking for Texas — a law to defy any new federal gun control laws,” Abbott said in a tweet April 7 about Arizona’s recently approved new law. […]

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