Just two days after Montana Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte was charged with body slamming a reporter, Texas Governor Greg Abbott reportedly joked about shooting reporters after signing new gun legislation at a gun range in Austin. The new law made it cheaper to get a license to carry a handgun in the state.
Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune tweeted that Abbott told the press gathered at the event that, “I’m gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters.” The governor also grinned as he showed off his target with bullet holes in it.
Svitek later told another reporter on Twitter that some people in the area did laugh, although there were people who weren’t reporters there. “I don’t think everyone fully heard because most had earplugs/headphones. I took audio,” Svitek wrote.
Svitek also confirmed that the “this” Abbott was referring to was the target sheet, not a gun.
As the Texas Tribune reports, Abbott was at the gun range to sign Senate Bill 16, which makes it even cheaper to get a first-time license fee to carry a handgun.
Starting September 1, it will cost Texans just $40 to get a first-time license instead of $140. The renewal fee also dropped from $70 to $40 and gun owners have to get their license renewed every five years. It’s expected that the bill will cost Texas around $12.6 million in 2018.
“The right to bear arms is something that is synonymous with the state of Texas. We are proud to expand the right to bear arms by lowering the cost of what you have to pay in order to get a license to carry,” Abbott said at the event. “Texans’ ability to bear arms is going to be even bolder today than it’s ever been before.”
Abbott also posted photos of himself at the gun range on his own Twitter page. He even called out the NRA to make sure they were aware.
Abbott’s joke about shooting reporters came just two days after Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault for “body slamming” Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs the night before Thursday’s election in Montana. Despite the incident, Gianforte still won and he finally apologized in his victory speech.
“Last night I made a mistake and I took an action I can’t take back and I am not proud of what happened,” Gianforte said. “I should not have responded the way I did and for that I am sorry.”
Just a few days before the incident between Jacobs and Gianforte, West Virginia reporter Dan Heyman said he was arrested for trying to ask Health And Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question.