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August 2, 2023

NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements today ahead of Thursday’s four-year mark of the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas in which 23 people were shot and killed and 22 others were shot and wounded. The mass-shooting is recorded as the deadliest anti-latinx attack in United States history. 

“Four years ago hate drove from Allen to El Paso and took away our friends, neighbors and loved ones in a senseless act of gun violence,” said Myndi Luevanos, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Today we are once again reminded that a trip to the grocery store can be deadly when our lawmakers fail to act. In 2019, Governor Abbott and lawmakers promised us things would be different. But they continue to cater to the gun lobby, failing to stand up for the safety of Texas families and communities while we bear the brunt of their inaction. We should be honoring those we lost with answers and accountability.”  

“Today we remember a day that devastated El Paso residents, Texans, and Latinx communities throughout our nation,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. “El Paso is a painful reminder of the consequences of policy failures combined with white supremacy. We all have a role to play in disarming hate. Our leaders need to take action on gun sense policies, but our communities must also come together in order to address the root causes of violence, change our ‘guns everywhere’ culture, and eradicate gun violence completely.”

“Four years ago the El Paso community and the Latinx community was traumatized by a horrific and hateful act of gun violence,” said José Alfaro, Director of Latinx Leadership and Community Engagement at Everytown for Gun Safety. “The shooting in El Paso is an example of how white supremacy can manifest into deadly violence. The spread of hateful rhetoric across social media, chiefly bolstered by extremist politicians — becomes deadly when dangerous individuals get their hands on assault weapons. Our communities deserve better from their leaders, and we won’t stand by while we pay the price of their words and inaction.” 

Since the El Paso mass shooting, hate crimes in Texas have continued to rise. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, in 2022, there were 549 hate crimes, a 6.4% increase from 2021. In 2022, a shooter walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a predominately Latinx community, and shot and killed 19 children and two educators and wounded 17 others. Just last May, a shooter with white supremacist views walked into an Outlet Mall in Allen and shot and killed 8 people, including children, and shot and injured 7 others. These instances will continue to become more common if lawmakers fail to act and hateful rhetoric continues to be used as a political weapon. 

El Paso, Texas is a predominately Latinx community – Latinx communities bear a disproportionate brunt of the United States’ gun violence crisis. Each year, more than 4,700 Latinx people die from gun violence in the United States, and 13,300 are shot and wounded. Latinx people are twice as likely to die by gun homicide and four times as likely to be wounded by an assault with a gun as white people. Latinx children and teens are nearly three times more likely to be killed by gun homicide than their white peers.

This legislative session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, alongside gun violence survivors and community partners, called on lawmakers to act on gun safety, repeatedly showing up at the statehouse, holding rallies, and making their voices heard. These calls led to the first committee passage of meaningful common-sense gun reform at the committee level in years when Raise the Age was voted on by the House Select Community Safety Committee. Students Demand Action volunteers held more than 75 walkouts across the state and the state chapter has grown 507% since the new year and have sent more than 8,000 messages to lawmakers. But lawmakers responded by passing HB 3, a measure that seeks to arm teachers and add more guns near our children. 

In an average year, 3,996 people die by guns in Texas, and 5,556 more are wounded. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Texas. Everytown’s interactive gun law platform — which shows how Texas’ gun laws compare to the gun laws of other states — is available here. Every day in the United States,120 people are killed with guns, hundreds more are shot and wounded, and countless others witness acts of gun violence. 

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