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32-Year-Old Sonic Worker, Matt Davis, Killed by 12-year-old with AR-15 Rifle in Keene, Texas Once Again Shows Depths of America’s Gun Violence Crisis, Highlights Need for Long Overdue Action on Assault Weapons, Inaction From Texas Lawmakers

May 16, 2023

Coming off the heels of three mass shootings in two weeks in Texas, reports show a 12-year-old boy was arrested for repeatedly shooting 32-year-old Matt Davis with an AR-15 rifle at a Sonic in Keene, Texas. Just one week shy of the one-year mark of when 19 students and two teachers were senselessly murdered by an 18-year-old with an assault weapon in Uvalde at Robb Elementary School, Texas lawmakers refuse to act, letting their constituents die by gun violence – and assault weapons. 

This past Saturday, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action gathered at over 200 events across the country for a Mother’s Day of Action to call on Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban. One of the highest-attended events was in Allen, Texas, where just a little over a week ago, a gunman killed eight people and wounded seven others with an assault weapon. Meanwhile, Texas lawmakers continue to respond to gun violence by further weakening gun laws and ceding to the gun lobby’s guns everywhere agenda through HB3 which would arm more teachers across the state of Texas by requiring an armed presence in all Texas schools – the bill so far has passed the House. 

“It seems like every day we wake up in Texas being rocked by another unimaginable headline about gun violence in our communities, ” said Brynn Beecham, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Students Demand Action. “This week’s tragedy was at the hands of a child armed with an assault weapon. This is the ‘guns everywhere,’ ‘shoot first’ world that the gun lobby and its allies have created, that we’re forced to live in. ”

Last week, six Democrats and two Republicans voted in the House Community Safety Committee to raise the age to purchase assault weapons, garnering national attention for the rare possibility for Texas lawmakers to make progress on gun safety. The bipartisan bill has since fallen short in the chamber with Republican lawmakers refusing to vote on the measure, once again reflecting the gun lobby’s firm hold on lawmakers in the state and the reckless dismantling of gun safety in a state with already weak gun laws.

Every year in Texas, nearly 4,000 people die by guns. With a rate of 13.7 deaths per 100,000 people, Texas has the 26th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. The state does not require a person to pass a criminal background check before purchasing a firearm from an unlicensed seller. In 2021, the state also eliminated the requirement that a person obtains a permit before carrying concealed handguns in public, meaning that a person in Texas can get a gun and carry it concealed in public without ever passing a criminal background check or taking firearm training. Texas also allows people with carry licenses to carry concealed firearms on college and university campuses. Texas even allows some teachers to carry firearms in K-12 schools. Read more about gun violence in Texas here

If you would like to speak to a volunteer with Students Demand Action or Moms Demand Action ahead of the hearing, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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