Once again, the gun violence crisis in Texas is in the spotlight after two people were shot and killed at a church in White Settlement on Sunday. Gun violence kills more than 3,000 Texans each year, and the rate of gun deaths in Texas increased 14 percent from 2008 to 2017.
A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found that 81 percent of Texas registered voters strongly support background checks on all gun sales, including 74 percent of Republicans. Most voters also support a strong red flag law. This poll was conducted in February 2019, before mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa.
Despite numerous high-profile shootings and growing support for gun safety laws, state lawmakers in recent years have failed to pass or even consider legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales or red flag legislation. In fact, Texas lawmakers further weakened public safety laws during the 2019 legislative session.
Statement from John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety:
“Instead of looking for a success story in a tragedy, lawmakers should be talking about how they can prevent gun violence in the first place. Texas officials should stop ignoring the common-sense and broadly popular solutions that we know work – background checks and red flag laws. The public isn’t looking for NRA talking points, it’s looking for action.”
Statement from Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America:
“It’s no surprise that the gun lobby is exploiting this tragedy and portraying it as a success story. What we need to focus on is the fact that in Texas, anyone can buy a gun with no background check and no questions asked. Texas lawmakers must act to prevent gun violence in the first place by keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, and that starts with common-sense policies like background checks on all gun sales and a strong red flag law. Time and again, Texas officials beholden to the gun lobby turn a blind eye to the causes of gun violence and their constituents’ desire for proven solutions.”
Statement from Hilary Rand Whitfield, volunteer chapter leader with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America:
“Over 3,000 people per year are killed with guns in Texas, and rather than reciting gun lobby talking points, our elected officials should do something about it. Across Texas, there is support for common-sense policies like background checks on all gun sales and a Red Flag law, and if our public officials won’t take action, we should replace them with leaders who will.”
More information on gun violence in Texas is available here.