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Dan Crenshaw is worried that universal background checks might keep him from arming his friends

It is unclear why he doesn't think his friends could pass background checks.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) opposes background checks because he wants to be able to arm his friends without them passing one.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) opposes background checks because he wants to be able to arm his friends without them passing one. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), an NRA-backed gun-rights advocate, dismissed calls for universal background checks even after a mass shooting in his own state that might have been prevented by such a law. His reasoning: he wants to be able to arm his friends.

ABC News reported on Tuesday that the suspected gunman in a deadly Labor Day mass shooting in Odessa and Midland, Texas, had previously failed a firearms background check but had been able to get an AR-type assault rifle in a private sale through the gun-show loophole without a background check. He allegedly used the weapon to kill seven people and injure more than 20 before police killed him.

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Like many other NRA-backed lawmakers, Crenshaw opposed a universal background checks bill earlier this year claiming that “all of the tragedies we’ve seen, whether Parkland, or Sutherland Springs, or the Thousand Oaks tragedy, or Sandy Hook — none of those would have been prevented” by a universal background checks law.

But now that the latest Texas mass shooting undermined his narrative, Crenshaw made a new argument on Tuesday.

“With universal background checks, I wouldn’t be able to let my friends borrow my handgun when they travel alone like this. We would make felons out of people just for defending themselves,” he tweeted.

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It is unclear why Crenshaw does not believe his friends could pass background checks to get their own weapons or to borrow his. If they are convicted felons who are not allowed to possess weapons, it would seem important for Crenshaw or other friends to know that before arming them.

Elisa Cardnell, a Democrat running against Crenshaw in 2020, told ThinkProgress that she strongly disagrees with the incumbent’s view.

“If you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t have a gun,” she explained in a statement. “It’s as simple as that. This is all part of a repeated pattern of dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric from him regarding gun safety. Dan Crenshaw voted against universal background checks because he cares more about the NRA than our communities. We need universal background checks and other common sense gun safety legislation.”