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As Lawmakers Return to Austin for Session, Common-Sense Gun Safety Legislation Needs to Take Center Stage

January 10, 2023

As the Texas legislature convenes for their 2023 legislative session this week, lawmakers will once again have the opportunity to pass common sense gun safety measures. Texas has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, scoring only 13.5 out of 100 for gun law strength, and lacks foundational gun safety measures such as background checks for all firearm sales, concealed firearm carry permitting, and an extreme risk law. Texas also does not prohibit individuals convicted of a hate crime from purchasing or possessing firearms.   

In the wake of the mass shooting in Uvalde last May, state lawmakers put politics over public safety, failing to take meaningful action on life-saving gun safety legislation. This has proven to be the pattern of Texas leadership. After the mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa, Texas lawmakers promised they’d do something. After the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, they held roundtable discussions and issued reports to suggest they were taking gun violence seriously but instead of taking action,  lawmakers returned to business as usual, and passed a bill to further weaken the state’s already-weak gun laws, putting Texans in even more danger.

Last legislative session, over objections from gun safety advocates, gun violence survivors, law enforcement, and other key public safety stakeholders, the Texas legislature passed permitless carry, a dangerous policy that has been shown to increase gun violence in other states. 

During the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers must show up for their constituents and reject the dangerous ‘guns everywhere’ agenda and instead prioritize passing critical gun violence prevention measures and securing funding for life-saving community violence intervention programs.  

Here’s what you need to know about gun violence in Texas:

  • In an average year, 3,647 people die and 5,556 are wounded by guns in Texas.
  • Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Texas, and an average of 372 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 39% are suicides and 56% are homicides.
  • Communities of color disproportionately bear the burden of our country’s gun violence crisis every single day. Black people in Texas are 5 times more likely than white people to die by gun homicide. 
  • In Texas, 60% of gun deaths are suicide and 38% are homicides. This is compared to 59% and 39% nationwide, respectively. 
  • Gun violence in Texas costs $1,769 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Texas $51.3 billion each year, of which $1.1 billion is paid by taxpayers.

More information about gun violence in Texas is available here.

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