BAYTOWN, Texas — The Texas chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after a gunman opened fire during a candlelight vigil in Baytown Sunday evening. According to reports, a crowd had gathered to celebrate the life of a man recently killed at his home when a vehicle approached and a shooter opened fire, killing one person and wounding 13 more — three of whom were left in critical condition.
“We all deserve to live free from gun violence. For this shooting to have taken place at an event where people were mourning makes it even more painful for the survivors and the community,” said Karin Knapp, a volunteer with the Texas Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Shootings like this one should never happen, but thanks to weak gun laws, we see them far too often. Our hearts break for all of those affected by this senseless act.”
In an average year, 3,455 people are killed by guns in Texas, and 9,173 more are wounded. At a rate of 4.4 homicides and 12.4 assaults per 100,000 people, Texas has the 24th-highest rate of gun homicides and gun assaults in the U.S. Despite this, earlier this year, Texas lawmakers further weakened the state’s gun laws by passing a permitless carry bill allowing people to carry loaded handguns in public with no background check and no safety training over the objections of law enforcement, faith leaders, medical professionals, and more. More information on Texas gun violence can be found here.
This shooting comes amid calls from in-state advocates in Texas to invest in community-led violence intervention programs. For decades, community-based organizations have successfully reduced violence by implementing alternative public safety measures that are locally driven and informed by data. Texas has passed on the opportunity to utilize funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to support these programs.