The American people need to start having “reasonable conversations” about the issues our country is facing, according to U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-TX.
Crenshaw spoke to a crowd of UST students, faculty, and other locals in Jones Hall on Aug. 27 at the invitation of Community Encounters, a series sponsored by UST’s Department of International Studies and Modern Languages and Political Science.
During his hour-long speech and following Q&A, Crenshaw elaborated on topics such as universal background checks and the Threat Assessment, Prevention and Safety Act, a bill he has sponsored in Congress since January.
The TAPS Act is essentially a grant program that gives local law enforcement “the same analytical tools that our federal law enforcement has been using for over 30 years,” Crenshaw said.
Universal background checks, meanwhile, aims to close the loophole that allows citizens to purchase firearms from a private seller without passing a background check, but Crenshaw opposes it.
“If my neighbor, her boyfriend is out of town, and she wants to borrow a gun to protect herself and I give her that gun, we both just became felons,” Crenshaw said.
His opposition to universal background checks stands in sharp contrast to the opinion of most Republican voters, who overwhelmingly favor such measures according to a 2018 poll conducted by Fox News.
Crenshaw urged the audience to continue to have conversations about gun control.
There are solutions that don’t “infringe on law-abiding citizens and also might actually do some good,” he said.
Crenshaw also discussed illegal immigration from Mexico.
Crenshaw said he wants to eliminate illegal immigration and implement an improved legal immigration system.
“Ideally we want zero illegal immigration and a better legal immigration system that rewards merit, and not necessarily rewards you for simply being related to someone in the country,” Crenshaw said.
With worries in Congress of a record number of illegal immigrants crossing the border next year, there is also concern of what is going to become of Social Security and Medicare. Crenshaw said Medicare is projected to go insolvent in 2026, and Social Security in 2035.
Both generations are going to need to “give a little,” Crenshaw said. Social Security needs to be disbursed based on income and capital, he said, and the younger generation needs to raise its retirement age.
Crenshaw observed that Americans live in a time of strong political divide; it is all right to disagree, he said, but it can be done without attacking one another.
“Attack ideas, attack them as much as possible,” he said, “but you don’t have to attack the person behind the ideas.”