Texas has had two mass shootings in the last month, one of which is in the top ten deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. That happened in El Paso earlier in August. The second shooting took place in Odessa, Texas, on Saturday, the night before new laws loosening gun control restrictions went into effect across the state. It left seven people dead and another 22 wounded.
These laws were decided upon in early June, before these high profile shootings, but Texas is no stranger to gun violence. According to Vox, the El Paso shooting was only one Texas shooting in the top ten—they have another one on that infamous list. In 1991, a man killed 23 people in Fort Hood, Texas. There were 27 people killed inside a church in 2017 in Sutherland Springs and 18 people were killed by a sniper on the University of Texas campus in 1966. This is a state with a lot of guns and a lot of gun violence.
Texas’ response has been to pass laws that fall in line with the desires of the National Rifle Association, laws that loosen restrictions on guns in schools and places of worship:
CNN: Today’s shootings in West Texas occurred a day before a spate of new laws easing gun restrictions are set to take effect. Here are the laws: pic.twitter.com/uPohCpWg7b— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 1, 2019
Now people can store guns in their cars in a school parking lot, makes it illegal for landlords to prohibit guns on their property, allows foster homes to store guns, and clarifies that people may bring firearms into places of worship provided that they have a license.
The NRA celebrated these changes, saying they “protect your Second Amendment rights.” Some changes allow for more armed security guards on campus, which means more guns in schools. That sounds bad to most proponents of gun control reform, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott thinks these changes are a good thing.
New Texas gun laws 🇺🇸:— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 1, 2019
-Licensed gun owners can have guns in cars at school
-School can have more guards
-Residents can carry a gun during a disaster
-Rental property owners can't ban tenets from having guns
-People can carry weapons in places of worshiphttps://t.co/4LK4XKWS79
“Some of these laws were enacted to make our communities safer,” Abbott told reporters, referencing the armed officials in schools law. It’s not surprising that’s his perspective. He has long encouraged private citizens to buy guns, saying he was “embarrassed” that gun sales are higher in California than Texas.
working paper: "The annual number of laws that loosen gun restrictions doubles in the year following a mass shooting in states with Republican-controlled legislatures." https://t.co/Nxoaof5Odz h/t @BruceBartlett— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) September 2, 2019
Brady is a group that advocates for gun reform; their president Kris Brown told CNN that Texas has gone in completely the wrong direction in response to the violence in their state.
“Many states took the opportunity in the last two years to learn lessons from the tragedies in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, and the everyday gun violence that plagues our citizens, and enacted new laws to protect public safety through expanded background checks and extreme risk laws,” said Brown. “Texas lawmakers, instead … doubled down on an NRA-led agenda to encourage guns everywhere, no matter the risks and costs to safety.”
The NRA owns Texas, no matter how many guns people are carrying for “freedom.”