In the wake of shootings in Odessa and El Paso, Texans of all stripes have voiced support for evidence-based gun safety laws like red flag laws and background checks on all gun sales. Those calls are all the more urgent after a weekend in which two more people were shot and killed and 12 wounded during a party in Greenville.
Volunteers with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will testify at the Texas Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence hearing Wednesday, where lawmakers will have another chance to heed the calls of leaders across the state. Those who have spoken out include:
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called expanding background check laws, “common-sense,” citing agreement from gun owners, NRA members and his constituents.
- The Republican mayors of Odessa, Midland, El Paso and Fort Worth have all publicly called for stronger background checks.
- The Houston Chronicle has charged lawmakers on all levels of government in Texas to, “Stop settling for legislation that only weakly addresses gun violence. Instead, speak up for necessary gun reform.”
- On Texas’ lack of background checks on all gun sales and a red flag law, the Beaumont Enterprise editorialized, “As long as these two glaring gaps in our laws remain open, it will remain too easy for a dangerous criminal or someone who is mentally unbalanced to get a gun and do something horrible with it.”
Texas’ gun violence problem goes beyond mass shootings. In fact, 3,139 Texans are shot and killed every single year, and many more are shot and injured. Of those, 1,947 gun deaths are firearm suicides; that’s one gun suicide every four hours. Firearms are the 2nd leading cause of death for children and teens in Texas, with 261 children and teens dying by gun per year.
Overall, the rate of gun deaths in Texas increased by 14 percent between 2008 and 2017, during which time the Texas legislature continually weakened the state’s gun laws.
Laws requiring background checks on all gun sales and red flag laws have been proven to prevent many different kinds of gun violence, from mass shootings, to gun suicides, to the day to day gun violence plaguing cities across the state.