Two separate shootings in Texas this weekend highlight how the gun violence epidemic has persisted amid the coronavirus pandemic. In Fort Worth, five people were wounded – two critically – when gunfire broke out in a park crowded with 600 people. And in Houston, six people were hurt – including a 5-year-old – when an ongoing dispute between neighbors reportedly escalated into gunfire.
These shootings come in the wake of an historic spike in gun sales. In Texas, nearly 200,000 background checks were completed this April, an 86 percent increase from last April. A risk with the historic number of background checks is that law enforcement will not have enough time to complete each background check and a firearm will be transferred to someone who is later found to be prohibited, such as a domestic abuser.
Last month, Everytown and Moms Demand Action released guidance detailing ways in which governors across the country, including Governor Abbott, can reduce the risks of unintentional shootings, domestic violence, community violence, and gun suicides as gun sales spike and Americans self-quarantine at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, year after year, Texas lawmakers have failed to pass common-sense gun safety laws, making it easier for guns to end up in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
More information on gun violence in Texas is available here.